Baroness Scott: Suffolk is a living and breathing place

Share
Related Topics

I came to live in Mid Suffolk 30 years ago in the town of Needham Market. My father and my first husband were in the RAF and what I immediately loved about the area was the sense of community because that is something I had not experienced before.

Here was a place where there would be names on village war memorials and the children and grandchildren of those individuals would still be living within those communities.

Mid Suffolk has never had that influx of second home-owners and holidaymakers which we have seen in other parts of the country. The countryside is not particularly wonderful but its built environment, in the shape of its villages and small towns, is truly lovely.

These villages are the centre of life with thriving communities. From local drama to rambling, you will find an interest group to suit your needs.

But it is not some kind of rural wonderland preserved in aspic. There is a strong pragmatism about progress, mixing the old with the new.

People recognise places have to move on but at the same time development needs to preserve the history of the area, ensuring we do not lose what makes it special.

My town of Needham Market underwent enormous growth in the 1970s and 1980s but if you walk up and down its high street today it is still recognisable from 19th-century photographs.

It makes me very proud to be associated with such a sense of locality and permanence. When I was offered a seat in the House of Lords, I was told I did not need to attach a place name to my title because I was the first Baroness Scott. But I wanted be Baroness Scott of Needham Market as a thank you to the town.

Of course, Mid Suffolk is a place that is not without its problems. Like many other rural communities, it has to deal with issues such as the availability of public transport and amenities. When I was first a councillor in my area, I represented 13 communities and villages. Now Needham Market is the only one that has shops.

It is also important that rural poverty is not forgotten. In urban areas, poverty affects whole housing estates but in the countryside the poor are more hidden away. It can be a single household and so the problem is more intractable than in cities like London.

But above all, Mid Suffolk is one of those places where people want to live rather than visit. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of local food production – there is now a wide range of farmers' markets, farm shops and local butchers. Our schools have always enjoyed a good reputation.

A few miles down the road on the Suffolk coast you have places such as Aldeburgh and Southwold where a large percentage of the properties sold are bought by people with London post codes.

Mid Suffolk just is not like that. We have never really had that weekending or holidaying scene. Instead, we have a place that people want to stay in and enjoy.

The author is the president of the Liberal Democrats

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all