Redlingfield's Parish Council is a Village Meeting with one open public meeting a year at Horham & Athelington Community Centre, usually in late May or early April (see events). Each year a chairman, treasurer and secretary are elected along with committee members.
Redlingfield Village Meeting's committee meets throughout the year to discuss issues that affect the village and to organise the fundraising events for the year - usually Pubs throughout summer on the Doorstep Green, a BBQ, cheese and wine and harvest supper (see events).
The money raised at these events pays to keep the centre of the village well-kept, to help St Andrews church and to maintain the Doorstep Green among other things. The success of these fundraising events means that we don't need to raise a rate through the local Council Tax.
The Village Meeting is keen to ensure that Redlingfield remains a vibrant community. One of its long-term aims is to bring affordable housing to the village to ensure that children are not forced to move away, farmworkers can live near their work and parents near their offspring.
The current chairman of the Parish Council is Marjery (Midge) Gibbons. Midge's Register of Members Interests. Redlingfield Chair Code of Conduct adendum.
Phone: 01379 678169
The parish clerk and secretary Janet Norman-Philips and the Parish Council can be contacted by emailing email@example.com or phoning 01379 678835.
For details of the 45th AGM and related documents visit 2022 AGM.
Redlingfield Parish Meeting and the Village Committee
We have a Parish Meeting here in Redlingfield – not a Parish Council. Each year we have an Annual Village Meeting (Annual Parish Meeting), normally held in May, at which the Parish Chair person, clerk and treasurer are elected.
The Village Committee are also elected at the Annual Village Meeting, they are a group of around 14-18 people (it varies) who volunteer to work on behalf of the village organising various activities and fundraising eg Pubs on the Green, litter picking, Summer BBQ, Race Nights, various other events. They also help maintain the Doorstep Green and church, as well as planting trees, installing play equipment and generally helping out. In addition, many other villagers volunteer and give their time to help carry out these activities.
It's an inclusive group and they also have other roles, acting as a sounding board for the Parish Meeting Chair – making suggestions about how things can be improved, or identifying new fundraising ideas as well as being a contact point for the wider village community – to answer questions about what's happening or funnel ideas in to the group about what needs to be improved or issues that arise: flooding, speeding traffic, play facilities on the Doorstep Green etc.
In the past, they have also carried out surveys to find out what people want improved in the village and what they enjoy about the village. The Village Committee includes volunteers from the Parochial Church Council (PCC), Parish Meeting and Redlingfield Village Amenities Ltd.
Volunteers also maintain the village website and produce the village magazine, the Athelington, Horham & Redlingfield news, which is printed in full colour, produced quarterly and distributed free to some 350 local residents and businesses. Copies are also on the website www.redlingfield.suffolk.gov.uk.
The Village Committee and all the other volunteers are one of the things that make Redlingfield such a great place to live, a community coming together to do good stuff. The activities of this group of people normally raises £2,000-£3,000 a year.
Neither the officials (Chair, clerk or treasurer) nor any of the Village Committee receive any payment at all for carrying out these voluntary activities and duties.
Redlingfield Parish Meeting is a local authority (though with fewer powers than a full Parish Council – for example a Parish Meeting cannot reclaim VAT whereas a Parish Council can). It has to be consulted on local government matters such as new planning applications (to see how we deal with planning applications click here); it is also legally entitled to raise a local Council Tax to pay for things that the village wants done. However, the Annual Village Meeting voted overwhelmingly to not have a local Council Tax – instead they voted to hold fundraising events. So that’s what we do.
The Parish Meeting is able to access grants specifically for local authorities and/or act as the grant recipient in order to redistribute grants to community initiatives such as the "Bags of Cheer" project, run by volunteers during the Covid lockdown. It can also provide match-funding to projects such as the £1,000 grant it gave to the church PCC to enable them to get a grant of £9,000 to repair some of their windows.
The Parish Meeting also successfully campaigned to get fibre Broadband in to Redlingfield via fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and it was one of the first rural Suffolk villages to have fibre to the premises (FTTP), enabling speeds of up to 900MB.
Parishes (originally relating to Manors in the Middle Ages) are one of the oldest forms of “local government” in the UK.
The Annual Village Meeting (Annual Parish Meeting) is the decision-making body for the village. At this annual meeting of the Parish anyone and everyone is free to speak their mind, to propose things that we should be doing or should not be doing. If people have negative views about what is happening or have ideas for projects they would like to see happening, they are encouraged and very welcome to voice them. Proposals are voted on by everyone from Redlingfield at the meeting and the Chair then takes responsibility for carrying out those wishes (provided they are lawful) to the best of their ability. For radical or contentious proposals, the entire village would be consulted.
Fundraising for village projects and village expenditure
Throughout the year various events and activities take place to raise funds for the village. In addition, external funding (grants and donations) is sought for projects where possible.
All the grants and donations we have received over the years have been for specific projects.
The main village expenditure each year relates to insurance and grass cutting and purchases to sell at the various events – these events make a profit. The village magazine covers its costs from advertising revenue.
At various times the Annual Village Meeting has agreed to make contributions to projects from its funds. e.g. in 2009 there was a £1,000 contribution towards new play equipment on the Doorstep Green, from 2009 to 2011, £500 per year was donated to church repairs and in 2017 £2,000 was contributed to the cost of the highway access for the Doorstep Green. In July 2017 two 10ft by 15ft pop up tents/gazebos were purchased at a cost of £438 for use at village events.
In 2021, Ian Winter, our then Parish Meeting Chair, raised over £3,000 in donations to install our defibrillator in the old telephone box and look after it for years to come.
The Doorstep Green
The creation of the Doorstep Green came about in 2006 following an Annual Village Meeting, where residents said that a safe place was needed for children to play and for us to hold events such as the annual village BBQ. Prior to the creation of the Doorstep Green, we had to close the road to hold our annual BBQ and children played in the street (skateboarding and football), people were convinced, given how fast traffic moves through our village, that sooner or later there would be a serious accident or fatality.
The Annual Village Meeting agreed and we were fortunate to get a number of grants to create the Doorstep Green. The entire village was informed and agreed and the project moved forward with the help of just about everyone in the village. Around 2,000 volunteer hours were recorded on the project.
Redlingfield has a Parish Meeting rather than a Parish Council – and is unable to own recreational land – we set up a not-for-profit limited company to own the Doorstep Green on behalf of the village (Redlingfield Village Amenities Ltd). The original grant also required that a separate company was created to protect the Doorstep Green from being sold off in future by a cash-strapped local council. The area continues to be looked after and maintained by volunteers and has turned out to be extremely popular.
Belatedly, we realised that it was far too small. In a more recent questionnaire sent to everyone in the village and asking what we should do next, 97% of the village asked for the Doorstep Green to be improved and made larger. The same questionnaire asked if people wanted to see the village church restored and updated to make it a useable community space (loos, a kitchen, better heating etc), the number who said “yes” was only slightly lower at 95%. The questionnaire was sent to every person in the village and there was a 98% response.
We raised more than £25,000 in donations and purchased an additional two acres to enlarge the original Doorstep Green.
Since then, a further donation of £10,000 was received and fundraising continued to create highway access and the bridge. Tony Rose Freitas’s incredible walk along the Suffolk Coastal path raised over £2,000. The new bridge has now been installed and it also has side railings, thanks to the welding skills of Will Kerry.
Currently we are focusing on creating the internal access road and parking for the Church and visitors to the Doorstep Green to share. Fundraising events have been held, Tom Smith cycled and Phoebe Smith rode her elderly pony 36km raising over £5,000 and more funds are being sought. After that we plan to purchase and install fencing so that children and dogs can’t run in to the access road or main road or in to the farmers field behind.
We are also doing minor repairs to the equipment on the original Doorstep Green along with sprucing it up. We plan to substantially improve the play, wildlife and recreation facilities on the green.
The Church of St Andrew
The “Redlingfield Parish Meeting” was originally created in 1977 in order to come together as a village to support and save the village church.
The Church of St Andrew is a significant historic building, it is of Anglo-Saxon origin, recorded in the Domesday Book (when this was a Viking village called Radinghefelda), Grade 2* listed and on the site of a Benedictine Nunnery, which is also Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Nunnery’s mediaeval fish ponds are largely intact and Heritage England have said that they are “of national significance”.
The church is the responsibility of Redlingfield Parochial Church Council (PCC). This is a separate organisation from Redlingfield Parish Meeting. The PCC is a Charity and as such can add Gift Aid to the funds its donors have raised. It is also able to access grants designed to support religious groups, heritage buildings and those designed to enable church buildings to be updated to include use by the community.
The PCC organises fundraising to maintain and improve the church e.g. Cheese & Wine evenings, quizzes, Flower Festivals, Dog and Produce Shows.
In 2016-2017, then local vicar, Michael Womack, asked the Redlingfield Annual Village Meeting for help with a project to get the church roof repaired. The meeting agreed to do everything they could to help secure funding and repair the church.
The Parish Clerk project managed the work on behalf of the PCC. The project was successful, the new roof and rainwater goods cost some £95,000, with external funding (Government grants) being obtained for some 90% of the expenditure and the PCC contributing the rest.
Our new Priest in Charge is Eleanor Goodison and she and the PCC have plans to deliver on the village’s ambition to have the church also function as a community building – with loos and kitchen facilities etc.