Photo: Steve Hood


Boxford Neighbourhood Plan Referendum

A big thank you is due to all of those who took the opportunity to cast their vote in the referendum on 27th October on the approval of the Boxford Neighbourhood Plan. I am very pleased to record that it was approved by a resounding majority for use by Babergh District Council to help it deciding planning applications in the parish of Boxford. The statistics were as follows:

In favour of approval 321 95.2% of the votes cast
Against approval 16 4.8%
Ballot papers rejected Nil
Electorate 1090 Turnout 30.2%

Babergh District Council has now adopted the plan so it is in force for to influence the council's planning decisions which is great news. Now the Parish Council can get to work to put the plan into effect!

The formal statement of the decision to adopt the plan, including the result of the poll, can be seen here.

Latest Update 29/6/2022

The Neighbourhood Plan has now been successful at examination and has been recommended by the Examiner to go forward to referendum with some minor modifications. Babergh Council have endorsed the Examiner's report and formally indicated they will proceed with a referendum in due course.
This leaves just the two final stages of Referendum and formal adoption of the plan by Babergh Mid Suffolk District Council as part of its Development Plan Framework and to use it when determining relevant planning applications in Boxford parish. However the good news is that having passed examination the plan does now carry significant weight in planning terms.

A Progress Update on the Boxford Neighbourhood Plan 4/2/2022

The Neighbourhood Plan Group has been quietly working away for the past few months amending the draft Neighbourhood Plan to address comments arising from last summer and autumn's consultation period and incorporating the findings of a Strategic Environmental Assessment report. The Parish Council has approved the revised draft and it was submitted to Babergh Mid-Suffolk District Council (BMSDC) on 28th January. The full pack of submission documents are available via the links on the right. Be prepared for a long read!

The good news is that at this stage the Plan has some status when the BMSDC Planning Committee is making decisions on planning applications. The first test of this is likely to come when the Catesby application for 64 houses is to be heard once again. At the very least the Plan can not now be ignored.

The next steps from here are in the hands of BMSDC to undertake. At present they are checking that the plan meets basic requirements and will then consult on it for a minimum of six weeks. It will then be submitted for independent examination after which the Plan will carry significant weight in planning terms. Once over that hurdle 28 days notice will be given to the electors of the Parish before a referendum on approval of the plan. If approved by a majority of the votes cast then it will finally be adopted by BMSDC as a "Made Plan". It will then have the same status in the making of planning decisions as BMSDC's own planning policies and give the Parish Council a real say in how the village develops into the future - which is what we have been aiming to achieve all along!

Our best guess is that this will be achieved in July this year but clearly the process has a few more steps to run so we will continue to keep you up to date as we go.

Further Update

BMSDC has given notice of the start of the six week consultation period starting on Monday 7th March and ending on Friday 29th April 2022. Click here to view the formal notice.