Meanwhile on Planet Babergh – East House

BureaucracyThe Hadleigh Community News in April contained the report of the Meeting of Hadleigh Town Council held on the 18th February 2016 which included the following gem: “The Clerk reported that an e-mail had been received from Babergh District Council asking who owned East House. The Officer was, of course, advised that they own it.”
The history of East House is simple: According to the Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce web site of 17th June 2013 East House and the Meadows were bought by the former Hadleigh Urban Council from the Styles family in 1960 for about £15,500. It was a straightforward sale with nothing to specify the building should be used for the benefit of Hadleigh people or anyone else. When local government was reorganised in 1974, council held assets had to be reallocated to the new bodies. To begin with the new councils agreed that the town council should take on ownership of East House. It was a town asset and would stay in the hands of the town’s administrators. However, when, under the rules of reorganisation, the district auditor investigated the division of assets it was discovered that because East House had been bought by the former urban council under Housing Act powers it would therefore have to be allocated to the new district council (Babergh) which was responsible for housing. It was thus transferred to ownership of Babergh.
In 1975 Babergh offered to sell East House (though not the meadows) to Hadleigh Town Council at market value. Hadleigh Town Council unanimously decided not to buy the property as they were already financing loans relating to Hadleigh’s Guildhall and was therefore unable to take on another financial commitment of that size.
East House was leased to Suffolk County Council who (in 2006) discovered that it was the second least efficient property on its books. Not surprising then that Suffolk didn’t renew its lease and handed the building back to Babergh paying for the assessed dilapidations. I campaigned in 2007 citing the emptiness of East House and blaming the Lib Dems for their lack of action.
East House was subsequently placed with Strutt Parker for them to market the property. Depending on whom you speak to market conditions were the reason for the lack of progress with potential buyers. So, ten years on it seems that Babergh would like someone else to be responsible for East House – possibly so that the blame game can be renewed! Why is it that the words “Twinings, a tea party, couldn’t organise at” come to mind.
And for this they raise Council Taxes!

Fuller details can be found on:

Tesco – The Fall Out

The following appears in the November edition of the Hadleigh Community News under the heading “Towards the Deep End”.
“Damian Thompson in The Daily Telegraph on October 9th commented that being bonkers is no longer a bar to political advancement.
Well anyone who watched Councillors support the proposition in September that the Brett Works site should be developed by Tesco would not be strangers to this idea.
Reasons advanced in favour of the development included:
The development of the site as a supermarket would be a long term benefit for our town.
There are no shops in Polstead.
It will raise the profile of Hadleigh.
The introduction of Tesco into the town will benefit out of town residents (especially those from Polstead).
The development will bring people into the town.
There are no good reasons for rejection.
Some councillors once again demonstrated that every time they speak they put the cause of local democracy back by at least five years. It became embarrassing to hear some of the speeches of support for the proposed Brett Works site development.
That being said, the Planning Committee meeting was a very interesting day and brought about a satisfactory outcome. I was glad that I was able to cancel and re-jig my holiday arrangements joining my wife and her cousins a few days late in Croatia.”
The Brett Works Site/Tesco discussion continues with people in Hadleigh grateful for their escape from Tesco but bemused that the margin for victory was so slender.