Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

Leisure recreation & culture

Thursday, March 8th, 2018 3:51 pm

When we look at the future of Saxmundham, we want to take on all dimensions – and as well as housing, employment and public services, we need to think about all those other dimensions, around leisure, recreation and culture, that add to life’s value and enjoyment.  Are there ways we can start to plan for a better future in all these fields?

While Saxmundham does not have a purpose built indoor sports centre, or swimming pool, it does have some good (and some reasonable) sports fields and facilities, and a wide range of sporting activities, including the Saxmundham Sports Club (based at Carlton Park Sports Ground). 

The Town Council owns and looks after the Memorial Field (off Rendham Road) which now offers the Skate Park as well as Scouts and Youth Club facilities.  There is however a need to think through what further activities could take place there. The Free School also has good playing fields.

The Town Council also owns (as charitable trustee) the Market Hall in the High Street, which hosts a range of community activities, e.g., keep fit, dance, indoor bowls… and can also host events. It can be argued that Saxmundham – while having a strong community life in many forms – is a bit lacking in cultural activities, e.g. cinema, theatre, musical events…  with the important exception of the Saxmundham Music Festival, which brings thousands together each summer.  This year’s festival will be held for the first time at the Free School, on 27-28 July.

Here, a revived and refurbished Market Hall could maybe play a stronger role, and offer a great venue in the town centre for community cultural events of every kind. In this way, the community and cultural life of the town can help to regenerate and enliven the town centre – and bring more people in.  The Saxmundham Museum is already a “crown jewel” for those interested in our town’s heritage, and could play an even bigger role in our town’s cultural  life, working in partnership with the Market Hall.  And can we think of spinning some local benefits (such as an “off Festival” offer) from the nearness of the Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh Festival, for example?

If you have ideas about improving Saxmundham’s “offer” in leisure and recreation, we would love to hear from you.  We have a working group looking at public and community services, which also covers the leisure and recreation services – if you want to join it, do get in touch.

Contact: Steve Palmer, convenor, via