Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

“Final draft” of Local Plan launched by Suffolk Coastal District Council – give them your views!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 5:18 pm

Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) yesterday (Monday) launched the “final draft” of their new Local Plan, for the period up to 2036, and opened it up to the public for consultation.  More precisely, we are invited to submit “representations” to them by no later than Monday 25th February.

More precisely still, any “representations” should deal with the issue of whether the proposals contained in the many hundreds of pages are “sound”.  To be “sound”, they should be “positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy.”

You can give your views online.  The full draft Plan and supporting documents are available from SCDC’s website at

There will be a  public drop-in session organised by SCDC on Wednesday 6 February at Saxmundham Market Hall, High Street, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., if you want to learn more.

The “final draft” Local Plan will, by the end of March, be sent to a nominated Inspector who will examine it and the representations received, and will hold a public examination over the summer.  He or she will then make any final recommendations.

They key points for Saxmundham include these:

The proposal for a new “South Saxmundham Garden Neighbourhood” with 800 dwellings is maintained, despite a large number of critical responses to the proposal;

However, in an important shift, the latest draft now proposes not to develop The Layers (especially from the B1121 South Entrance road across to the tree belt) for new housing;

SCDC have received a new heritage assessment report which underlines the value of The Layers in terms of the landscape views to the church and Hurts Hall, the impact on the Conservation Area, and the need to preserve the historic and attractive entrance to the town where “rural meets urban”; this site should be enhanced in quality as open space, as part of the Garden Neighbourhood;

This means that the new housing (a mix of sizes, types, tenure) will largely be sited between the railway line and the A12 by-pass, also to include land for a new primary school and for a “community hub” on the site, including smaller retail and community facilities;

The only road access for the new Garden Neighbourhood would be via a single junction with the A12, but cycle and pedestrian access to and from the town should be given a strong priority;

The site allocated for new employment uses within the Garden Neighbourhood is now moved across the A12 to the west side;

The new draft Plan does not address the proposals made by Saxmundham Town Council and others to divide future new development more evenly between the south and the east (up Church Hill), and fails to argue why all should be in one location;

Policies for the town centre remain broadly unchanged, with emphasis on the need to “enhance the vitality and vibrancy of the town centre, including through protecting and enhancing the historic core of the town and the railway station”;

The function of town centres is changing and needs to focus more on social interaction, leisure and entertainment services, better access for pedestrians etc.

The draft Plan proposes that the Garden Neighbourhood developers should make some financial contributions towards: more floorspace at doctor’s surgery; early years’ education; new one-form primary school; improvements to library; more police floorspace; cycle and pedestrian ways…

Saxmundham Town Council had a first  discussion about the latest draft Plan at its monthly meeting last night (14th Jan.)  The Council will agree its formal response at its next meeting, on Monday 11th February.  In the meantime, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will also look at the proposals and put forward its ideas to the Council.

If you want to send us your views, please do so by email, for attention Jeremy Smith, at:

For information, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is in the process of drawing up a questionnaire to be sent to every household about the sort of housing we need, and especially about what sort of community facilities we should be pressing for, for our town.