We’re proud of Clare


The only official site of Clare Town Council, regularly updated – Suffolk’s smallest town.

News from Clare

Click to see our News: updated 15 October

Announcements from Clare

Click to see Announcements: updated 22 November

Police Advice

Click to see Police Advice: updated 12 January

Events in & around Clare

Click to see events








                                DO YOU HAVE AN ISSUE IN THE TOWN?

On Tuesday, 8th January the Community Support Committee of Clare Town Council met with representatives of various local organisations to work together on methods of improving communication within our town. Those present included Clare Library, Churches Together in Clare, Clare Castle Country Park, the Playing Fields Association and Clare Society.

Everyone agreed that, following on from recent events, there is a need to identify ways of ensuring that only factual, accurate information is shared not only within our community but also further afield, in order to protect the reputation of our town.

As a start, it is proposed that two councillors will be available once a month to answer questions or listen to any concerns that residents, business owners or visitors may have.  The first of these sessions will be held in the Library on Saturday, 19th January from 10am until noon, so please do come along and talk to us. If we don’t have an immediate answer for you, we will try to find the correct information and contact you later.

Secondly, we propose that “Ideas and Suggestions boxes” will be sited in various suitable locations in Clare so that anyone who wishes to raise a confidential matter can do so knowing it will be dealt with in a manner which will ensure that their privacy will be respected under the Council’s Data Protection policy.

We look forward to seeing you on 19th January from 10am in the Library.

Margaret Godwin

Chair, Community Support Committee


26th December 2018 – Resignation of the Clerk

Our Clerk, Julia Burge has resigned from her position. Her last day of service is to be 30th December. At the Clare Town Council meeting on 20th December it was agreed to commission Jayne Cole from CLPS to provide temporary cover until May 2019. A copy of the report which was passed unanimously can be downloaded from here and a copy of Julia’s resignation letter can be obtained by emailing the Chair of the Council at paul.bishop(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)clare-suffolk.co.uk


11 December 2018: Christmas Bin Collections

Please be aware that the usual bin collection on Monday 24th December will be taking place on Saturday 22nd December instead.  There will be no change to the bin collection date on Monday 31st December.

4 October 2018: Goods Wagon formerly in Country Park – Postponement of Extraordinary Meeting

It has become apparent today that the number of people wishing to attend the above meeting is likely to exceed the Health & Safety limits for the Pavilion hall.  To avoid having to turn away any member of the public, councillors have agreed to a postponement so that the issue can be considered in the Town Hall and all those who wish to can attend.

The Town Hall is already booked by other users during the evenings next week.  The issue of the goods wagon will therefore be on the agenda at the scheduled Council meeting the following week, on 18th October 2018 at 7pm.  The venue of this meeting has been changed from the Old School Community Centre to the Town Hall.  The full agenda will be published in approximately a week’s time.

2 October 2018: Goods Wagon formerly in Country Park

As advised below, the Town Council will be holding an extraordinary meeting on Friday 5th October to discuss the matter of the railway wagon’s removal from the Country Park.  The meeting will take place at 7.30pm at the Pavilion in Harp Lane.

I will give a short introduction to the matter as I see it and then take comments and questions from members of the public.  Given the strength of feeling exhibited on social media I have decided to extend the time available for public participation to half an hour. 

I hope that all those who attend the meeting will treat others with respect.  I will be insisting that people do not talk over each other and keep their comments brief, to allow others the chance to speak.

At the end of the public session councillors will further discuss the matter and make any proposals necessary.

I have received a statement from the trustees which I am setting out below in full.  Copies of this statement will also be made available on the usual noticeboards.

Paul Bishop, Chair, Clare Town Council



In the light of comments on social media the Trustees of the Park would like to clarify the facts surrounding the sale of the railway wagon.

The Trustees have at all times complied with the terms of their lease with the Town Council which relates to the land and buildings alone.  The goods wagon was neither land nor buildings and was therefore not covered by the lease.

The wagon had been stored in what is now the Clare Park Centre where it was used to house a number of artefacts relating to the Park.  Except on a few occasions both the wagon and its contents had for many years been in a locked area to which the public did not have access.   As part of the HLF-funded plans to develop the Park, it is intended that these artefacts (including the old railway signs) will be on public display either permanently or on many occasions.

All the HLF plans for improving the Clare Park Centre and the changes to the site have been available to the public and the Town Council for well over a year.  These plans incorporated a major re-modelling of Clare Park Centre and the installation of extensive interpretation of the medieval, railway and natural heritage.   In advance of the Project being submitted to the HLF the consultant advising the Trustees on the ‘Activity and Interpretation’ elements of the plan made a presentation to the Town Council on those plans.  The Town Council subsequently approved the detailed plans as part of the statutory planning process.

In the public consultation that took place between April and July last year some people expressed regret that the goods wagon could not be retained.   Considerable time had been spent in thinking how it might be used in the Park but, after extensive discussions, we came to the reluctant conclusion that it was not possible.  If the Clare Park Centre was to emphasise its railway heritage, but also provide sufficient space for it to be used for a range of educational, social and business purposes, the wagon could not be incorporated in the building.  It was also decided, again reluctantly and following input from our professional advisers, that locating it in a different position in the Park was not practical as it would require some sort of protective cover or, if located outside, significant ongoing maintenance.

The railway heritage is an important part of the Park; hence the plans for repairing at least one and possibly both station platforms, the installation of a play-train where a siding used to be and a model railway which will enable everyone to see what the station and surrounds were like when trains ran through Clare.  These changes we believe will give pleasure to both new and older residents and will help to maintain Clare as an attractive destination for visitors and a key service centre for the benefit of the whole community.

The wagon has been sold to John Russell, Chairman of Clare Railway Society, who has spent many years restoring old railway rolling stock.   We are told it will be located at the Colne Valley railway site at Castle Hedingham who have far better resources than we do to maintain it.

The competing demands of different interest groups and the allocation of limited resources is not a simple matter.  Judgements have to be made that take account of a wide range of factors.  We hope that people would accept that there are good reasons for what we do even if they would have made different decisions.

The Park is dependent on the efforts of 70 regular volunteers.  The totally unfounded insinuation that the Trustees have been acting in an underhand way does nothing to encourage people to volunteer their time.

The actions of certain Town Councillors we find incomprehensible.  Cllr Bob Verguson reported the sale of the wagon to the Suffolk Police as a ‘crime’.  We understand that Cllr Stephen Kimminau also contacted the Suffolk Police advising them he was writing to the Charity Commission about the matter.  Even if those two councillors think we have not complied with our obligations, it is unacceptable for them to act in this way.  This is not the first time they have seemed more interested in dividing the community rather than resolving matters in a way that is less damaging to the image of Clare.  .

27 September 2018: Goods Wagon formerly in Country Park

Following concerns raised by a number of residents, the Chair has convened an extraordinary Council meeting to consider this matter.  The meeting will be held on Friday 5th October 2018 at 7.30pm and will take place in the Pavilion at Harp Lane (ie at the playing fields).  The agenda will be published later today on this website (see Council Matters > Minutes and Agendas) and on the usual noticeboards in Pashler’s Alley and by the Cock Inn. 

19 September 2018: Lloyds Bank  UPDATED 2 OCTOBER 2018

Lloyds bank customers will be aware that the bank has announced the closure of its Clare branch on 8th October 2018.  Following the closure, a mobile bank will be visiting Clare every Tuesday morning.  It will be parked on Market Hill and will be open for business between 10.15am and 11.45am.

There will be an initial visit on Tuesday 2nd October, when the exact location on Market Hill will be decided.  The mobile will need to be positioned so as to receive a good satellite signal and to enable safe access for customers, including those with mobility issues.  For this first visit a larger area of Market Hill will be cordoned off, but the aim is to take up as few parking spaces as possible for subsequent visits. 

The Council has been informed by Lloyds Bank that the mobile is currently off the road.  They hope that it will be fixed in time for next Tuesday’s scheduled visit.  The Clare branch will be open as usual this Friday and next Monday.  Lloyds Bank have said that they will keep us informed and we will add any updates here.

28 June 2018: Remembrance Sunday Plans

Every year local veterans, churches, other organisations and residents unite in commemorating Remembrance Sunday with a service, parade and the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial on Market Hill.  In this way, the sacrifices of those who fought and died are never forgotten.

This year the commemorations will be extra special, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.  At 2.45pm on Sunday 11th November the parade will march from the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Station Road, through the centre of Clare to the Parish Church for a service of commemoration.  At 3.45pm the parade will march along the High Street and into Market Hill for a short service and the laying of wreaths.  At 4.15pm the parade will march from Market Hill to the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Station Road.

This year, Clare is part of Battle’s Over, a national tribute to commemorate/celebrate the end of the First World War a century ago.  Consequently, there will be a second procession at 6.15pm, from the War Memorial to Clare Castle Country Park via Station Road.  In the Park, there will be a short programme before the beacon is lit by Mark Pendlington, the Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk, and a young person from the town.  This will be one of 3,000 beacons lit at 7pm throughout the United Kingdom.

As part of the commemorations, and to maintain public safety, traffic will be stopped for short periods of time on the route of the processions and there will be parking restrictions on Market Hill.  Further details of these brief road closures will be published in due course.  If you have any concerns about the closures please contact the Clerk, Clare Town Council, for more information.

The residents of Clare are always supportive of these events and it would be wonderful to have an even larger turnout in this 100th anniversary year, to honour the great sacrifices made by local people a century ago.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

CHOC quiz poster

Various break-ins took place last night – three shops and the council office in the Old School.  

Damage occurred in all premises but little of value seems to have been taken.  The local police suspect this is amateur or casual, rather than specific or professional in nature.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

A misapprehension has arisen  as seen on a local social media website, that a former chair of the council prevented free speech and that the current chair dislikes anyone asking questions about protecting Clare public land.  

People have been asked to stand when speaking publicly, not to inhibit them, but to make sure they could be heard.  If people who were unable to stand, they were not disbarred.

Public participation rules, including references to electronic recording, were clarified, not because of the election of new councillors, but because the then clerk informed the council of the need to update the standing orders.  

The present chair has never expressed any objection to questions of public land in Clare.

While people may now be better able to recognise our chair because of his pony tail, it is ill advised to make personal remarks about any member of our community.

The website is updated appropriately – see all of the items under News, Announcements and the Police Advice, as well as this editorial.

Monday 2 April 2018

Spring is arriving in spite of the cold & wet weather.  We are always looking for photos to use on our pages, even in our newsletter.

If you’ve taken photos in Clare – the park, the town, the people, whatever – please send them into us.  No need to edit them other than to reduce their size to 2mb or so.   Add them as attachments to an email – putting them in the body of an email usually means they’re shrunk down too far and quality is lost.  

We’ll put your name to them, if you wish.  Photographs of children will not be used if the individuals can be identified, unless the parent/guardian has consented.

Please send your contributions to editor(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)clare-suffolk.co.uk.  Receipt will be acknowledged; if accepted, the contributor will be informed where the material has been used.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Community Action Suffolk

We have received an urgent reminder from Community Action Suffolk for parents who wish to apply for Free School Meals.  The application must be in by 31st March.  Here’s the link.

This relates to changes in the government’s benefits system and the introduction of Universal Credit.  If your’e a parent and could be eligible, make sure you get an application in now.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

The Clare Castle Country Park has been approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a funding of £1.5 million.  See the news item.  Warmest congratulations to the Trustees, whose hard work and expertise has paid off.   So many people to thank, not just the Trustees but the Volunteers, Friends and our community in general, plus the generous support of other groups and authorities.

Friday 9 February 2018

The election of a town councillor took place yesterday.  The returning officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council has declared the result as follows:

Davina Neale                     367 Votes
Rosemary Warmington        275 Votes

Davina Neale is duly elected.  There were no spoiled ballot papers.  Turnout was 37% out of an electorate of 1756.

The official notice may be found here.

Sunday 28 January

Our new Town Clerk, Julia Burge takes up her duties on Thursday 1 February.   Her office hours will the afternoon on Tuesday 12 – 4 and the mornings of Wednesday and Thursday 9 – 1.  She was introduced at this month’s full council meeting.

A new streetcleaner, Steve Morris takes up his duties on Monday 12 February, joining Brian Watts out and about keeping Clare clean & tidy.

Both our new staff live in Clare.  Please make them both feel welcome.

BBC Countryfile has selected Suffolk as one of the finalists declared thein this year’s awards.  See our news page for more details, especially how to vote.

Saturday 20 January

Following the resignation of Councillor Gayle Mallows, the election of a councillor for Clare Town Council will take place on Thursday 8th February, under the responsibility of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.  The polling station will in the Community Centre in Callis Street from 7am to to 10pm: here is the official notice, set by the official timetable.

There are two candidates: Davina Sylvia Neale and Rosemary Jill Warmington.  The official notice may be found here.

 editor(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)clare-suffolk.co.uk

Clare is an historic market town in West Suffolk, bordered by the Stour, halfway between Haverhill and Sudbury.  It has a country park with a ruined castle, moats and walks as well as a complete former railway station.  The town has wide range of shops and services, set amongst multiple historic buildings.

Clare Town Council represents the residents of Clare, 2028 at the 2011 census.  Given its status as a key service centre, in 2012 the then Parish Council renamed itself as a Town Council, gaining no additional powers but positioning itself as Suffolk’s smallest town.  It is responsible for street cleaning, public benches, grass-cutting, tree maintenance and a cemetery as well as the ownership of several assets.  It is statutorily consulted on planning matters.  It contributes to a wide range of community groups and voluntary organisations.

The Clare Community Association promotes community involvement.  It gathers news of all local events and publishes them – see the Events page.  There are a host of voluntary groups within the town, covering a range of ages and interests; we hope the details we have gathered on our pages will encourage more people to join in their activities.

There is a useful public Facebook page for things happening in Clare, small local Facebook Our Town Clareevents, music, demonstrations.  Warning: we will not post any links to Facebook pages that are private, unmoderated or allow trolls to start arguments and/or upset people.  Harassment of local folk is unacceptable.

facebookNote: where the Facebook logo is displayed, there will be an active link to the page of that group or business.  Contents may be not visible if you are not a member of Facebook.  

West Suffolk has a useful page of information, highways, nearby planning, schools…….contacts & links: within this page you can add your own postcode to see what is available.

wikipediaWikipedia has a long article on Clare, covering history, architecture, facts and figures; there are links within the article to the castle, the Common, the de Clares, the railway.

There’s an attractive blog: Ten reasons to live in Clare.  The Sunday Times included Clare in its 50 best rural places to live in Britain – it was only 13th alphabetically!

Visitors to Clare are invited to the new website: Visit Clare.

Please note clare-uk.com is no longer supported by the Town Council.

2017 © Clare Town Council