Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan

Your vote, your say – Referendum on Sax Neighbourhood Plan on Thursday 29th June

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 12:02 am

The date has at last been set for the Local Referendum on the Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan – it’s Thursday 29th June.  We encourage all Saxmundham registered voters to exercise their democratic right to vote.

The polling stations (like for the recent local elections) will be at the Market Hall and the Fromus Centre (in Street Farm Road).  The poll is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.  The Referendum is run by the electoral services team at East Suffolk Council. 

If a majority of those voting vote YES, the Neighbourhood Plan will come into effect. The formal question on the ballot paper is this:

“Do you want East Suffolk Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Saxmundham to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

The latest version of the Neighbourhood Plan can be downloaded from the East Suffolk Council website here: 

This web page also gives you access to ‘Information for Voters’ which includes provision for postal or proxy voting.

During the formal Referendum period, local authorities – which include town/parish councils – should not issue any publicity which seeks to influence
voters. This website – though not set up or managed by the Town Council nor financed by it – has at all times expressed the position and activities of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, which has received administrative support, and some financial support, from the Town Council.  We will not therefore seek via this website to influence which way residents choose to vote.

We are however entitled to to publish material relating to the subject matter of a referendum, for example to correct any mistakes of fact published by others, provided this is even-handed and does not show support or oppose the subject of the Referendum vote.  

In this context, we wish to clarify that one recent (online) report from the East Anglian Daily Times incorrectly indicated that the Neighbourhood Plan included the District Council’s plan for an 800 dwelling ‘Garden Neighbourhood’ to the south of the town.  This is wholly incorrect. the Neighbourhood Plan does NOT include or propose this large development, which is the product of the District Council Plan for the Suffolk Coastal Area.  This District Plan was approved by East Suffolk in September 2020. 

Saxmundham Town Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group have at no time agreed with the District Council’s proposal for this development, which we had argued, at each stage of consultation, is too large for Saxmundham and mainly in the wrong place. 

So whichever way you choose to vote (whether Yes or No) in the upcoming Referendum on our Sax Neighbourhood Plan, your vote will NOT have any effect on whether or how this large development to the south goes ahead.

Finally, we should point out that everyone, in their individual capacity, can argue for a YES or NO vote as freely as they wish.  This includes town councillors and members of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, provided they wear their own personal ‘hat’, and are not representing the Town Council in any formal way.  (As with local election expenses, people have to record and file details of any Referendum ‘campaign’ expenses incurred, and there is a legal financial limit). 

So no doubt you will hear from many of us over the coming weeks, leading up to the 29th June Referendum vote!