Draft Minutes of Dunwich Parish Meeting held on 26th January 2024
in Dunwich Reading Room starting at 7.30


  1. Welcome and apologies for absence:

Present: H Morris (Chair), J Cary, G&A. Abell, S Alderman, S&D Blackwell, C Blauth, P&D Boechler, C&K Brookhouse, D Cole, J Godfrey, J Hamilton, S Hargreaves, E Haxby, M Palmer, O Pascal, S Perry, S Morris, J&M White, M Williams.

Visitors: Cllr. Paul Ashton (East Suffolk Council), M Beckham, K Lockett

Apologies: L Beaumont, A&S Buckley, D&H Cook, D&J Cox, J&S Earp, N&S Malkin, C Palmer, J Perry, T Roberts, J Sharp, R Smith, A&S Strickland, R Walter, G Williams, J Zarins

2. Minutes of the Parish Meeting held on 27th October 2023:
Acceptance proposed by S Morris, seconded by C Brookhouse, agreed nem con

3. Matters arising from the Minutes not otherwise on the agenda: None.

4. Treasurers Report:

Current balance: £2,701, projected to be £2,464 

J Cary (Treasurer) presented a draft budget for 2024/25, previously circulated. The only variance discussed was an increase in the annual donation to CAB to £200; this sum was proposed by D Boechler, seconded by A Abell and passed by a large majority (1 member opposed).  M Palmer suggested we should set a precept of £1,500 (c£25 for a Band D household) rather than the £2,000 (£34) proposed but was not supported, and the Meeting agreed £2,000.

The annual Risk Assessment was introduced by J Cary and agreed nem con.


5. Planning:

i) Energy Projects:The Chair said she was receiving a lot of information about the various energy projects in East Suffolk; rather than circulating this all she has posted it on the Parish Meeting website (www.dunwichpm.onesuffolk.net) under the Energy Projects tab; parishioners are encouraged to check that regularly for recent news.
Sizewell C: Construction has started and grants are available to villages for mitigation proposals; The Chair invited members to form a subcommittee to formulate ideas for Dunwich. She has started to receive wide loads alerts which she will circulate. Sizewell C’s works tracker website is also recommended www.szcworkstracker.co.uk.  

The Chair strongly recommended the very informative guided tour of Sizewell B, bookable through the Visitor Centre (01728 653974).

Sea Link: Central government has awarded a grant to undertake a feasibility study into an offshore connection, which local councils and other bodies have been pressing for. If agreed this would greatly reduce the scale and impact of onshore works.

Lion Link: The next round of consulting is expected shortly.

ii) The Ship: Conditions of planning consent for the garden works have now been met satisfactorily; the hedge gap has been filled with new planting, there has been new tree planting in the central beds, there will be no lighting after 9pm (Oct /April) and after sundown in the summer, and no food trailer.

iii) Dunwich Cliffs Caravan Park: Application for licence to increase the number of pitches had been refused.

iv) Oaks Meadow. Following earlier objections, revised plans for an implement store have been submitted (viewable on East Suffolk Planning website, ref 23/1596). The revisions include a smaller footprint, lower roofline and no new field entrance. The hedge around the road bend has been significantly cut back.

v) Proposed barn in field between Sandy Lane and Westleton Road. Planning now require the owners to submit a full planning application.

6. Amenity Report:

i) Highways, drainage and potholes: The Chair noted that the roads and drainage were in a very poor state and advised members to report all issues on the Highways reporting tool (Report a highways issue - Suffolk County Council) which is very easy to use. M Palmer criticised Highways’ failure to clear block road drains in the village (though it was also reported that these had been cleared 6 months ago), and the poor, now dangerous, sight lines at the 5-finger post junction.

ii) Clifftop Viewpoint: G Abell (Chairman, Dunwich Greyfriars Trust) explained how heavy winter rainfall had weakened the clifftop leading to many serious slippages, clearly visible from the beach. One of the worst was at the viewpoint, rendering it unsafe. It had therefore been closed and would remain so for a month while the cliff stabilizes. Then a new clifftop footpath will be cut, with access cut from it to the existing viewpoint, which will be fenced with post and rail to prevent access to within 2m of the now vertical cliff edge.

iii) Coastal Defence: The Chair said the 3 yearly review by Coastal Partnership East (CPE) was due in July, and Lucy Goodman (successor of the retired Paul Patterson) had sent an interim assessment. In their view the cliff face was not a major problem, but there had been some lowering of the beach level since the last review, leading to increased risk of the sea reaching and eroding the cliff. CPE, with the Environment Agency, aim to give a full presentation to the Meeting next year. The Chair will circulate drone images of the coast at Dunwich. J Hamilton asked if they are monitoring the offshore sand bank which protects our beach; The Chair will try to establish that. M Palmer noted the poor condition of the fence at the base of the cliff and suggested something stronger was needed. J Hamilton (Town Trust) said DTT are responsible and were researching how best to address this – to be reported to the next DPM.

iv) Coronation Bench: This had now been installed on the triangle at the top of the village, and Messrs Tomlinson and Macaulay were thanked for moving and installing the old one in Gallows Field.

7. Dunwich Town Trust Nominations:

There had been 4 nominations for the 3 vacancies for Parish Meeting nominated Trustees of the Dunwich Town Trust, as follows:

Mark Beckham           proposed by S Earp, seconded by J Earp

Tricia Boechler           proposed by H Cook, seconded by M Williams

Dennis Cox                 proposed by H Morris, seconded by J Sharp

Rod Smith                   proposed by H Tomlinson, seconded by S Earp

An election took place, by secret ballot, and T Boechler, D Cox and R Smith were duly elected.


8. The Dunwich Community Heritage Centre (DCHC):

J Hamilton described the change of legal status from the Museum and Reading Room Charity to the DCHC, which would be a membership organization. DCHC had interim funding from the Lottery, which was funding the digitization of Jack Docwra’s old photograph collection, which would be followed by an Art & Landscape Exhibition in the autumn. Lottery funding was also supporting some painting restoration and research into the origin of the old stones of Dunwich. The main Museum displays this year will be a Pilgrimage exhibition, a display on the 80th anniversary of D-Day, and commemoration of the filming of ‘Whatever Happened to Dunwich’ 20 years ago.


9. Jubilee Committee:  This year’s Fun Day, Saturday 29th June, will be a BBQ and traditional Fete (with stalls). The Chair will be asking for help to run the day.

10. D-Day 80th Anniversary: The Chair outlined the plans for Thursday 6th June. We will join the nation marking the event by lighting the beacon at 6.30. As the day coincides with National Fish and Chip Day, the Flora tearooms will open for the village from 5.30.  More details will follow.

11. Any Other Business

i) Yoxmere Fisherman, A Abell reported she was taking over co-ordination of the distribution from Joan Godfrey who had performed the task very well for many years. Any queries over non-delivery should now be referred to her.

ii) Thanks. Chairman expressed the thanks of the Meeting to John Earp for multiple tasks he had done over the winter – ditch clearing, fallen tree removal, etc.


12. Cllr Paul Ashton (District Council) was invited to speak, and described the current budget problems, particularly at County Council level. District was at medium term financial risk from an ongoing Business Rate Review.

He said most local councils favoured 20mph speed limits, but costs of implementation, especially the legal costs, were prohibitive. He is trying to bring all our villages under one application, thereby sharing costs. He has a fund for local projects and suggested that he may be able to contribute to the costs of the clifftop viewpoint. He welcomes contact on any local issues (paul.ashton@eastsuffolk.gov.uk).


Next meeting: Friday April 26th 2024. The Chair requested a volunteer to take the Minutes.

The meeting closed at 9.20pm.