Nearly 50 years after it started running services, Mid Suffolk Council finally grabbed national attention in May when it became the first local authority in the country controlled by the Greens.

Now after nearly six months the Green administration is getting ready to publish its detailed strategy for the next few years.

Deputy leader Rachel Eburne is almost a veteran councillor these days - but she's found life a bit different recently: "As an opposition councillor you can ask lots of questions, but when you're in the administration you get to look in the cupboards!"

Council leader Andy Mellen and Ms Eburne, who is also responsible for finances, are now preparing to present its new vision for the district now that they've had a good look at all the details.

And housing is absolutely at the core of their plans to improve the district.

They are looking at proposals to help residents improve insulation in their homes with grants to install loft or cavity wall insulation in a scheme that will be formally unveiled next month.

About £2m has been set aside for this - using money from the New Homes Bonus from the government that has been waiting to be used.

East Anglian Daily Times: Andy MellenAndy Mellen (Image: Jason Noble/LDRS)

Mr Mellen said the funds would be made available for both homeowners and private tenants - the exact eligibility will be announced when the proposal is debated by the council next month.

The new administration also wants to improve and update its 2,300 council houses - but it is still trying to work out exactly how much money it will have for that.

Ms Eburne said: "There are strict rules about how that can be funded. We want to do as much as possible but we have to stay within the government rules."

The importance of staying within government rules isn't lost on Mr Mellen who is sometimes frustrated by planning issues.

The council has been involved in controversies over plans for solar panels on farmland.

Mr Mellen said: "We would prefer to require them to be placed on warehouses - that we are seeing go up across the district - rather than agricultural land.

"But the government wants them on fields and if we just rejected them all the applicants would appeal, we would lose and be hit with the costs of fighting the case. 

"It's something we are going to continue pressing."

Mr Mellen said the guiding principal of the new administration was to promote social and environmental responsibility in everything it does - and it's clear that the administration is aware that the eyes of the council-watchers across the country are on it.

There are 37 councils across the country with Green Party members in their administration - some like East Suffolk have Green leaders.

But Mid Suffolk is the only one where the Green Party has an overall majority on the council.

That means it gets a lot of attention from the party nationally and political media. Mr Mellen said: "I was at the Green Party conference earlier this month and Mid Suffolk got mentioned in many speeches."

Back home the council is hoping to encourage local businesses to thrive - and the new administration is hoping to make its mark on the new Gateway 14 business park with an environmental innovation and skills centre.

East Anglian Daily Times: Gateway 14 is now taking shape - and should include a Green innovation centre.Gateway 14 is now taking shape - and should include a Green innovation centre. (Image: Google Maps)

But the finances of that still need to be sorted out.

The administration also wants to support the continued development of Stowmarket as a centre for the arts an culture as well as the heart of the district's business life.

Mr Mellen said: "We have the Food Museum, the Regal and the John Peel Centre all in the middle of the town and that makes Stowmarket a very good centre for the district."

East Anglian Daily Times: The council would like to support developments such as the food museum.The council would like to support developments such as the food museum. (Image: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis)

But the administration is also keen to take decision-making out of its main offices in Ipswich into the towns and villages.

East Anglian Daily Times: The John Peel centre is also a centre the councillors would like to continue to develop.The John Peel centre is also a centre the councillors would like to continue to develop. (Image: Archant)

Planning meetings have already been held in villages that would be most affected by decisions - and other meetings are also taking place in community centres.