Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

Next draft of Suffolk Coastal DC’s Local Plan unveiled

Monday, November 26th, 2018 6:31 pm

Timetable for Local Plan – which has big impact on Saxmundham

Last week, the next draft of Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Local Plan was unveiled, ready to be discussed by its Scrutiny Committee tomorrow (Tuesday) (See Appendix A from the list).  It will then go to the Cabinet and full Council meeting right at the start of January.  Once then approved by SCDC, it is opened for further consultation before being sent on to a planning inspector by the end of March.  The inspector has to consider if it meets the legal requirements for Local Plans, and if its policy proposals are “sound”.  The public hearing on all this will take place some time over the summer.

On the content, it keeps the previously proposed level of population growth, with 800 new dwellings (houses and flats) in a new “South Saxmundham Garden Neighbourhood”.  There would also be around 200 more dwellings to be built over the period to (around) 2030, taking into account existing planning consents, a further new development of 40 homes off Church Hill, and a small “shortfall” in new housing over the current plan period.

Keeping The Layers as open space

The positive news from the new plan is that the SCDC planners seem to have accepted the arguments – made by Saxmundham Town Council, our Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, the Leave the Layers Alone campaign and many individuals – that the site to the east of the railway (i.e. The Layers) should not be available for housing development, but kept as open space (and enable its history/heritage value to be enhanced). 

The housing area on the west side of the railway would include a “community hub”, while the area set aside for employment uses is now moved across to the west side of the A12.  All this is shown on the new draft indicative Masterplan – but n.b. at this stage it is all simply “indicative”.  Note that the only motor vehicle access shown is a single entrance on to the A12.

Neighbourhood Plan – next steps

Tomorrow (Tuesday 27th November) our Steering Group meets to try to agree – as a basis for our next stage of consultation – the broad aims of the Neighbourhood Plan, now that we have seen the likely main lines of the Local Plan.  We will also define the specific subject areas for the Plan to cover, including identifying development sites that have potential to improve the town.

To recall, a Neighbourhood Plan can set planning policies for the local area, but these must not contradict Local Plan or national planning policies.  We will also be discussing what specific community benefits we need to require from developers for our town, and we will then be consulting you on this too.