It takes a village to raise a child....
Back in 2007 a planning application for the former Stradbroke Garage site was submitted. The plan was to build houses and the letter asking for a response from the primary school arrived during the school summer holidays...
At that time Ann Kerr was both the Vice-Chair of the School's Governors and Chair of the Parish Council. She managed to contact Mid Suffolk and rally the school and Parish Council together and went to the Planning Committee at Mid Suffolk and successfully argued to reduce the number of houses and increase the number of parking spaces.
Sadly these houses were never built perhaps due to the economic downturn that quickly followed.
In 2014 we first heard of plans to built a new shop on the same site. These are the plans that come to the Parish Council on Monday evening and this post is an appeal to my fellow councillors to think carefully about what they are being asked to vote on.
Whilst the adults in Stradbroke will all get a vote in May to elect new councillors we have to remember that children do not. As well as representing our own views and the views of other Stradbroke residents we have a duty to think carefully of the impact of our decisions on children.
This should apply to those of us who have our own children and those who do not. As it is said it takes a village to raise a child and Stradbroke's children should be in the forefront of our mind on Monday night.
We cannot make the world free of any risks for children. But we can and should ensure we make the world as safe as we can and we certainly should not make it more dangerous.
In 2011 nearly 20,000 children under 15 were injured in road traffic accidents. Around 2,400 were either killed or seriously injured. That is 7 children a day.
Most injuries to children, indeed more than all the other types put together were to pedestrians. Children for reasons that are obvious are more at risk when a pedestrian. They are small and don't always look where they are going. Vehicles are big and more likely to injure children if they hit them.
Everyone admits that there is a serious traffic situation outside the primary school especially at school drop off and collection times. The traffic has got worse and worse and is a problem even without a proposed shop.
The problem might not be for long but sadly it doesn't take long for a child to be hit by a car, lorry or tractor.
Many of you will remember that last fatal accident in Stradbroke when a motorcyclist was killed. Such an incident casts a long shadow over a small village like Stradbroke and impacts on literally everyone.
I am certain nobody wants to see that happen again.
I know there are quite a few people who would like to see a co-op in Stradbroke. That isn't what we are being asked to vote on. We are being asked if the plans as proposed for a co-op should be passed. Plans that show no change at all from when the public saw them and so many expressed concern.
A traffic survey promised by co-op still hasn't even been started.
My appeal to councillors and to Stradbroke residents is simple. We should stand shoulder to shoulder on this despite any differences to protect our children. For if this plan makes the village more dangerous for a small child, even just a bit more dangerous, we shouldn't allow it.
The safety of our children should come before any economic or development gain. I appeal to all councillors to vote against the proposed Co-op plans and send a strong message to Mid Suffolk that the application should be refused.
This post is written in a personal capacity. Statistics from Child Accident Prevention Trust