Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

About us

About the Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework to shape our town’s development, regeneration and conservation. We can set out our shared ‘vision’ and planning policies for the future of Saxmundham, and influence where new homes, shops, offices, restaurants etc. should be built – and what facilities or infrastructure we need.

Saxmundham is a historic town that is growing and changing fast – and will almost certainly continue to do so. We need to make sure that these changes reflect our “vision” of Saxmundham’s future – and make it an even better place to live, work, visit and enjoy. 

But we also suffer from a lack of good quality services and resources, and our town centre definitely needs regeneration. We need to ensure that the essential character of the town is maintained, with a strong sense identity reflecting our history as well as looking to the future.

That is why Saxmundham Town Council decided to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan. What goes into the Plan will however be for local people to decide.  The Plan will be the product of a partnership between the town’s Council and Community.

Why draw up a Neighbourhood Plan? 

There are at least 3 good reasons.

First, the Plan is our chance to shape together the future of Saxmundham.  It will set out our agreed aims and priorities for the future of our town over, say, the next 20 years.  It can help us unite to tackle many of the problems and challenges we face – and to win much-needed resources. 

Second, the Plan enables us to identify individual sites on our “land use” map for specified types of future development  – housing, business use, community facilities etc.  Our Plan must not, by law, go against the strategic planning policies for the area in the District Council’s local development plan. However, it can help decide where such development should be located, and what it will look like.

Third, once the Plan is adopted in a local Referendum, it means that Saxmundham can access additional funding for our common good, through developers’ contributions to a “Community Infrastructure Levy”.

Our Plan needs to be realistic, but also imaginative, helping our town grow in a good way – to make positive change happen.  We need everybody’s voice to be heard –  all age groups, residents, businesses, community groups… 

In formal terms, our Neighbourhood Plan is limited to the town’s parish boundaries.  But Saxmundham’s future is bound up with that of our neighbouring villages, for which it provides a service centre, and we will be aiming to work closely with their parish councils.

Getting involved

A major public consultation meeting was held on 4th November 2017 at the Saxmundham Free School with around 100 active participants.  We will be conducting smaller in-depth consultations with specific sections of the community, and are likely to carry out a household survey later in 2018 to ensure that our community’s priorities are fully represented in the Plan.  You can learn of all our activities via this website, and other social media.

Following initial consultation meetings, a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has been formed to oversee the whole process.  It is formed of town councillors and volunteer community representatives.  The Steering Group members are: Christine Buttery (vice-chair), Peter Ewart, John Findlay (vice-chair), Lyn Jardine, Steve Palmer, Roger Plant, Emma Ratzer, Jeremy Smith (chair), plus as observer Gillian Benjamin (Suffolk Coastal District Council).

The Steering Group’s terms of reference are available here: ToR Steering Group as at 12 Feb 2018.

Working groups

In addition, a number of specific working groups are being established, some of which are underway.  We welcome volunteers to add your own knowledge and insight to these working groups, which presently cover:

Housing – contact  John Findlay (convenor) via saxmundhamplan@gmail.com 

Local economy & employment – contact Jeremy Smith via saxmundhamplan@gmail.com 

Community services / leisure, recreation (these two are currently combined) – contact Steve Palmer (convenor) via saxmundhamplan@gmail.com 

Environment – contact via saxmundhamplan@gmail.com 

Transport & mobility – contact via saxmundhamplan@gmail.com 

Communications – contact via saxmundhamplan@gmail.com 

Other working groups may be set up following further community consultation, and if there is wide interest in the subject.  We will also explore issues specific to the town centre and conservation area.