Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

The Future of Saxmundham – a Student’s Eye View

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 8:41 pm

We are often asked what younger people of Saxmundham think about all the proposals for – or affecting – their town.  Well, thanks to the work of students at Saxmundham Free School, we have a much better idea. They have done a survey covering 135 students at the school, as well as looking themselves at various advantages and disadvantages – and the results are striking.

A Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group ‘team’ (Christine Buttery, John Findlay and Jeremy Smith) today (23rd Jan.) visited the Free School and the students made an excellent presentation of their findings, set out in a powerpoint presentation which we have turned into a pdf which can be downloaded here:   Free School Students Survey result

We strongly recommend a look at it!

First point, most of those who responded did not want to see the town grow very much, with a small majority for staying roughly its present size.  That said, they can also see the positives of a bigger town, especially for the local economy and range of services in the town centre.

The most surprising – and thought-provoking – result was in answer to a question of WHERE the new housing should be located.  They were offered 4 options: 

  • South of the Free School [i.e. between railway and A12, which is now the main proposal of the draft Local Plan]
  • The Layers
  • North East Fields [i.e. further up Church Hill, to the east]
  • West of the A12 fields

Answer:  the largest percentage – 40% – felt new development should take place to the WEST of the A12, making a wholly new neighbourhood there (green, below).  The second favourite was ‘north east fields’  (yellow, below).  Very few favoured housing development on The Layers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, more students said they saw their future outside Saxmundham than within.  But looking at the town as it is, they strongly support the need for new facilities to attract people (including themselves!) to the town.  Fast food and family restaurants feature high on their list – but also leisure facilities such as sports ha;;s, gyms and swimming pools.

In their oral presentation, they also underlined the need for more entertainment and performance (cultural) space and life in the town – including performances by residents (including school students) e.g. of plays or music.

The students also looked at “How can Saxmundham build a better environment for the future?”  Their first point is to “pedestrianise the High Street”, including (they explained) planting trees in the town centre as well as generally. Also on the list – create more areas for nature; be more bike friendly (with more bike hire); ensure future housing is eco-friendly.

The students also looked at the pros and cons for Saxmundham of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station, and again see development as likely to benefit the town economically, but as bringing more trucks and congestion and landscape/environmental damage – and maybe more crime.

The last issue covered in the powerpoint presentation was their assessment of the jobs ‘needed’ in Saxmundham.  The results are very practical in spirit: builders, bar and hotel workers, Deliveroo drivers, but also tech companies and scientists for a new lab – and musicians.

Which is a great note to end on – Saxmundham, a lively town of music, entertainment, service and performance!

Our warm thanks  to Access Community Trust (especially Lee and Emma), and school teaching staff, for supporting and helping with all this work.