Parish critical over town’s expansion
A parish chairman says he fears the decision to extend Stowmarket’s boundaries will lead to outlying villages being swallowed up by the town.
On December 17, Mid Suffolk District approved plans to extend the town’s boundaries into the parishes of Onehouse, Haughley, Combs, Badley and Creeting St Peter.
But Onehouse Parish Chairman Ron Raisey described the decision as ‘land grabbing’.
He said: “It is not about making sure voters are properly represented by the right number of councillors at all.
“It is about the so called big boys of Stowmarket Town Council and Mid Suffolk District Council riding roughshod over a much smaller parish council.
“It is land grabbing on such a scale as to rob Onehouse of future 106 revenue which could be used to benefit much needed community facilities in the village.
“By developing this land the green belt buffer between Onehouse and Stowmarket is getting smaller and smaller and it seems the eventual aim of Stowmarket Town Council is to swallow us up and make us part of the town. This we will fight to the bitter end.”
The boundary extension will mean the names of the four internal town wards in Stowmarket will change to Chilton, Combs Ford, St Peter’s and Stow Thorney in respect of the North West, South, Central and East parts of the town.
Gerard Brewster, Chairman of the Governance Review Consultation Working Group and Mayor of Stowmarket, defended the decision saying it would give people living in the new developments in the town a ‘true sense of belonging to Stowmarket’.
He said: “I welcome the approval of the Stowmarket Community Governance Review recommendations presented to the meeting of Mid Suffolk District Council at their meeting on December 17.
“The internal ward boundaries and names agreed fully comply with the Town Council’s recommendations to the District Council.
“The rapid growth of the town has required the formation of four wards of broadly equal size with four councillors serving each, thus providing a much improved democratic situation to that which currently exists.”