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County council thinking - from the mouth of the chief executive

Thursday, 21st February 2013.

The boss of Suffolk County Council was in Haverhill today, talking to a gathering of local business people and community leaders at thebestofHaverhill's monthly meeting.

These events can be bland. This one wasn't. Here are some of the things chief executive Deborah Cadman had to say:

On transport infrastructure:
* "The best thing for Haverhill would be a local rail link to Cambridge, but that is never going to happen - or at least not in the next ten years."
* "A 25million highway scheme for the A1307, although we can work towards it, we can't fund it, so we are lobbying to find innovative ways to fund it."

On pedestrianising High Street:
* "At the moment we are in an impasse. We will do whatever the community of Haverhill is clearly saying is wanted. There is a bit of a split at present between those who don't want it and those who want it."
* "There are a lot of advocates of shared space. I have seen places where it's good and other places where it's a disaster."
* "It's got to be Haverhill people who collectively come to a decision."

On education:
* "The future for Suffolk is bright but if our young people are not achieving their full potential they will miss out on the opportunities to others - and not just from the UK but from outside."
* "You should be really proud of Castle Manor and Samuel Ward, because both are delivering top-notch education for the young people of Haverhill."
* "I am always astonished by the lack of aspiration among young people in Suffolk. We will be working with schools about how they can interact with parents. Children's view of the world from their earliest years is defined by parental context. We want to encourage them to have a different view of the world."

On public transport to Bury:
* "We are trying to influence both the bus companies and West Suffolk Hospital to try to get a service that works but we have no power over them. Where appropriate we can talk about subsidies for a period of time, but if bus companies say it's not sustainable they won't run them."
* "If we do have a pilot scheme it will only run for a short time and you've got to get people using it."

On Haverhill:
* "Haverhill Town Council are doing a brilliant job of raising the profile of the town."
* "You do need a better retail offer in Haverhill. People say if you had a Marks and Spencer it would all be fine, and there's some sense in that because they bring others with them."
* "Years ago the MP Richard Spring said to me we'd be able to tell Haverhill had arrived when you could buy a cappucino on the high street. Well, you can now."
* "We made a start at St Edmundsbury with the cinema development, but we have not been able to join it together with the high street, and there we have not had success."
* "You can see what has been done in Bury St Edmunds with the Arc. We need to think about something similar in Haverhill."

On her job:
* "I think our gritters have done a fantastic job in the adverse weather again this winter."
* "Suffolk is the only county council not to have closed a single library in the last five years."
* "We have a budget of nearly a billion, roughly half of which goes straight into schools. From the half a billion we can control we will be saving 150million over the next three to four years. It is a big challenge but I want to protect frontline services where we can."
* "People seem to think I can do anything, but I can't. I'm not responsible for world peace."

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