Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

Proposal to change Saxmundham-Benhall boundary to include new Garden Neighbouhood in Sax

Friday, March 11th, 2022 3:08 pm

At present, the South Saxmundham Garden Neighbourhood – a new 800 dwelling development approved in East Suffolk Council’s Local Plan – straddles the Saxmundham / Benhall parish boundary.  This arguably does not make sense in terms of good administration, and of local community identity.  The new development would have a population of around 2,000, compared to Saxmundham’s current population of around 5,000.  Benhall’s current population is around 600.

On Monday 14th March, Saxmundham Town Council will consider a report by its Chair that recommends that the whole of the area of the new development falls within the parish of Saxmundham.  Here is a map that shows the proposed new as well as existing boundary between Saxmundham and Benhall parishes.

The report argues:

“While much of the built development of the new Garden Neighbourhood is proposed to be within what is currently the parish of Benhall, it is not connected to the village of Benhall in any meaningful way (it touches Kiln Lane with a very small number of individual dwellings to the west of the railway line). On the other hand, the SSGN will be physically joined to the built settlement of Saxmundham, and will draw on the town’s public, private and voluntary services and facilities.”

East Suffolk Council have recently launched a consultation (called a Community Governance Review) on whether to change parish boundaries or create new parishes, or to divide parishes into ‘wards’ for election purposes.  The report, if adopted, will form Saxmundham Town Council’s submission to that review.  

The Town Council would be pleased to receive any views on the report and its recommendations from local residents and businesses, whether before or after Monday’s meeting.  The deadline given us by East Suffolk for submissions is 1st April.

Benhall Parish Council are due to consider their position at their meeting on 30th March.

The report also proposes an increase of one councillor, from a maximum of 11 at present to 12 in future.

The issue is also of importance in relation to Community Infrastructure Levy, which is paid by developers on a scale set by the district council (East Suffolk), and a proportion of which – currently 15% – goes to the relevant parish council to help it meet the infrastructure costs – both physical and social – that fall upon their town or village as a consequence of the new development.

The full set of recommendations in the report are:

(1) To support in principle a change in the parish boundary between Saxmundham and Benhall, so that the proposed new South Saxmundham Garden Neighbourhood and related development would fall within Saxmundham parish, based on the map attached as annex to this report;
(2) to submit this report to East Suffolk Council as our submission to its consultation on Community Governance Review, while indicating that we wish to discuss the proposals with Benhall Parish Council, and may if appropriate make a further submission following such discussion;
(3) to send this report to Benhall Parish Council, which meets next on 30th March;
(4) to publicise the points set out in this report and invite any views from Saxmundham residents and businesses.