BOXFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN


Photo: Steve Hood

EMERGING POLICY IDEAS

Boxford Neighbourhood Plan The Boxford Neighbourhood Plan when completed will belong to all those living within our parish boundary. Indeed, when the process is near its final stages, a referendum of the whole village will be held to seek endorsement of the plan. The steering group: Hugh Phillips and David Burden as co- chairmen, Roger Loose and Andrew Good and a professional consultant, Andrea Long, are determined that our work will be as transparent as possible. We seek the involvement of village residents throughout the process and hope to obtain your approval at key stages. Our enthusiasm and resolve will be strengthened if as many as possible think we are on the right lines; we will certainly shudder to a halt if we are not!

ideas poster

Boxford Post OfficeWe have made considerable progress recently and have reached a key stage with the latest 'Emerging Policy Ideas' paper. We hope it is presented in a readable and illustrated way that allows you to see the approach to various subjects and the developing objectives. Boxford as we know it has its historical core, around which it developed, and a number of other distinctive housing communities, which taken together make it the cohesive and vibrant village that we know. Our aim is not to preserve it in a way that might herald a slow decline, but rather to nudge it forward so that it continues to be a place for people and families of all ages. Insofar as we can influence future planning, protection of Boxford's heritage must go hand in hand with helping younger, current, and future residents onto the housing ladder. The heartbeat of the village isn't its buildings but its people. We will always need to help those who aspire to stay in Boxford, become the parents of the future who will support our school, church, clubs, societies, and businesses and provide their lifeblood. Such an aim we feel might be best served by small developments providing a route into the housing market; perhaps a combination of rented, shared ownership and owner occupier.

An example might be useful. Station Fields, when first mooted, met the kind of opposition all largish developments attract in rural areas. Yet most might agree that it has become an agreeable and important part of the village, without at all despoiling the landscape as some feared. We would hope that a handful of small developments with a lesser number of houses, but sympathetically designed to fit the landscape and/or in available infill locations, could satisfy the future housing need. As you read through the boxes and objectives we hope you can see how this aspiration might be delivered over time and how we hope to keep centre stage in planners' mind the key factors of congestion, pedestrian access, parking, potential flooding, the importance of our landscape, its views in and out of the village and of course our existing buildings.

Boxford Landscape

The plan itself cannot make any policy that is binding on local or national authorities. Our principal aim is to provide a coherent voice for Boxford's hopes and aspirations that planners and developers will seek to follow. When finished, it will be yours! Please read through and give us your feedback.

Please pass this on to anyone you think might miss it to help us prevent the planning process being lengthened by the necessary Covid 19 restraints on large gatherings. Hard copies will be available at the Post Office, the White Hart and the Box River Cafe. Contact the email address below if you want a separate digital or hard copy.

Click here to view our emerging policy ideas

The Pandemic was over the horizon when we set out on the Boxford Neighbourhood Plan project well over a year ago. In normal circumstances the process would already have included a public meeting or two, sharing emerging thoughts with all interested parties and residents in the village hall. Of course this hasn't been possible and, as with so many activities, we need to use digital means of communication to reach as many as possible.

Can you suggest any features of Boxford that should be protected in the Plan, but which are not already "listed" nationally? The ancient and unusual Sarsen stone at the foot of the Croft is a good example in need of protection and perhaps the Village Sign on Broad Street. Can you think of any more? The Old Gaol is already "listed" and most trees in the parish are protected.

Do send in your comments and we will try to answer your questions, using professional consultants if need be. Please email us at boxfordnp@gmail.com.