Image of Community Governance Review
The Community Governance Review Consultation and Final Recommendation Reports are now available for Battisford and Combs and Onehouse and Stowmarket.

Mid Suffolk District Council has been undertaking a Community Governance Review of parishes, towns, and unparished areas in the districts, which started in March 2022.

Two electoral arrangements are currently under stage two consultation:

  • Onehouse and Stowmarket
  • Battisford and Combs

Battisford and Combs Final Comment Period

How to get involved: Final comments welcome for Battisford and Combs.

As Council has adopted the recommendations of the Working Group. The Council's final recommendations are now open to the public for final comments, to arrive at the next full Council for agreement.

We invite you to submit your final comments:  

By Emailing: cgr@baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk  

By Post
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils 
Electoral Services 
Community Governance 
Endeavour House  
8 Russell Road 
Ipswich 
IP1 2BX 

Battisford and Combs Further Consultation Results

We received 140 responses, of which for question one 88.57% agreed with the draft recommendation and 5.78% disagreed, with the remainder of responses saying they were unsure, left blank, or another option. For question two 46.43% agreed with the draft recommendations, 5.00% disagreed, 45.71% left the question blank and 2.86% were unsure.

The Working Group have agreed upon their final recommendations which arrived at Council on 20 March.

Open the Battisford and Combs Further Consultation Report

Open the Working Group Final Recommendations Report for Battisford and Combs

Open the Report for full Council for Battisford and Combs

Onehouse and Stowmarket Further Consultation Results

We received 848 responses, of which 73% agreed with the draft recommendation and 17.33% disagreed, with the remainder of responses saying they were unsure, left blank, or another option.

The final recommendations will arrive at the next full Council meeting.

Open the Onehouse and Stowmarket Further Consultation Report

Open the Working Group Final Recommendations Report for Onehouse and Stowmarket

Open the Draft Report for full Council for Onehouse and Stowmarket

Next steps

For the Onehouse and Stowmarket Community Governance Review, Mid Suffolk District Council must now meet to debate and agree the final recommendation.  This recommendation must then be published, and a month allowed for further consultation with residents.
Mid Suffolk District Council can then make its final decision, following further debate and vote, during a public meeting.

Any changes to the boundary between Stowmarket Town Council and Onehouse Parish Council, however, continue to be fiercely contested by both councils. To ensure all voices are fairly heard, Mid Suffolk District Council would like to hear further representation from both councils during its meeting, before debating and agreeing its final recommendations. In order to give both councils time to prepare, this is expected to be heard during April’s full Council meeting. The recommendation will then be published for any final comments from residents before returning to full Council for agreement in June (as May will be the Annual Council Meeting).

For Battisford and Combs, where both parish councils are broadly in agreement with the proposals, Mid Suffolk District Council has agreed to adopt the final recommendations at its meeting on 20 March 2024, and are now published for a Final Comment Period. This will be brought back to the next full Council with any final comments, for agreement. 

Current Community Governance Review

Initial consultations were held across Mid Suffolk from April to May 2022, and Stage One of the review was completed at the beginning of 2023.

As these boundaries and electoral arrangements were put in place following reviews carried out the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) and agreed by Parliament, it is beyond the legal power of the Council to make any changes without the agreement of the LGBCE and because of this (and the requirement for further consultation on the Onehouse and Stowmarket, and Battisford and Combs electoral arrangements) the Community Governance Review must be continued into a second stage.

Further Consultation

To ensure effective consultation, Mid Suffolk District Council sent out an information pack to households within the affected areas.

Residents and organisations within Onehouse and Stowmarket, and Battisford and Combs areas of the district made a representation between 10 November 2023 and 10 January 2024.

The Council invited comments from all residents, particularly those disabled residents and those from diverse and underrepresented communities and organisations, regarding the Community Governance Review Draft Recommendations published on 26 October 2023.

Representations were encouraged to refer to the Terms of Reference when commenting on the draft recommendations.

Draft Recommendations for Onehouse Parish and Stowmarket Town

The recommendations that we sought your opinions on, are:

The Council is asked to decline the request for the Union Road Development and Areas A, B and C to become part of Stowmarket and for boundaries to remain as they currently are – no change.

Reasons:

  1. The current boundary between Stowmarket and Onehouse does reflect the identities and interests of the communities of the area.
  2. There is still effective and convenient local government as the Parish/Town boundary would remain co-terminus with the electoral boundary.
  3. The Working Group considered the proximity of the Paupers Grave which has established historical links with Onehouse and Area A (in particular Stow Lodge-Former Union workhouse). Area A in turn is not new development but established existing residential complex that identifies already with Onehouse.
  4. Area C being the area from the B1115 down to the River Rattlesden is mainly existing residential dwellings which will have identified with Onehouse for some time. There is some limited new development but on balance they are outweighed by the existing established dwellings.
  5. Area B to the south of the Paupers Grave/Area A and directly north of Area C is the mainly new development sandwiched between these areas and do identify with Area A/Paupers Grave but not so much with Area C due to lack of connectivity. On balance this area should remain in Onehouse.
  6. In considering the proposal for change the Working Group considered community inclusiveness and a sense of community responsibility and pride. It considered a sense of place and local distinctiveness which is clear from the positioning and links to the Paupers Grave.

Onehouse and Stowmarket map

 

Onehouse and Stowmarket - Alternative Google map

Draft Recommendations for Battisford and Combs Parishes

The recommendations that we sought your opinions on, are:

  1. Proposed inclusion of Bowl Meadow Development currently in Combs Parish Council area to be included within the Battisford Parish area.
  2. Dwellings along Bildeston Road to be re-allocated from the Combs Parish Council area.

Draft Recommendations:

  1. Council is asked to agree that the boundary between Combs Parish Council and Battisford Parish Council is amended as indicated on the attached Plan (Appendix E) to include the Bowl Meadow Development.
  2. Council is asked to agree that the Bildeston Road remain as part of Combs Parish Council - No change.

Reasons:

  1. Local preference (the proposal was supported by Battisford PC and not opposed by Combs PC on the basis that it made logical sense but that the electors should decide.
  2. The Bildeston Road dwellings are long standing existing dwellings which already identify with Combs Parish Council.

Battisford and Combs map
 

Revised terms of reference for the Community Governance Reviews

View the Mid Suffolk District Council Community Governance Review Terms of Reference (6th March 2024)

View the Mid Suffolk District Council Community Governance Review Terms of Reference (19th April 2023)

The terms of reference are also available for inspection by appointment at Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.

Previous resources

Open the Community Governance Review consultation survey for Onehouse and Stowmarket

Open the Community Governance Review consultation survey for Battisford and Combs

Download the Battisford and Combs Poster

Download the Onehouse and Stowmarket Poster

Community Governance Review Notice

View the Mid Suffolk District Council Community Governance Review Notice

Stage One Published Orders

The Mid Suffolk (Badwell Ash and Long Thurlow, Fressingfield, Thurston) Order - 21st September 2023

The Mid Suffolk (Baylham) Order - 14th September 2023

Copies of published orders are available for inspection by appointment at Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.

Community Governance Review Revised Timetable

 
Action Timeline Details
Stage One Timeline
Report to Full Council March 2022 Council approves the principle of the Community Governance Review and its terms of reference
Publish terms of reference 30 March 2022 Publish terms of reference and notify stakeholders of the commencement of the Review
Prepare draft consultation document and invite initial submissions April to May 2022 Initial submissions invited from:
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Members of Parliament
  • Local groups and interested parties
Deadline for initial submissions 27 May 2022  
Consider submissions May to June 2022 Consider any submissions received by the elections team and prepare a report with informed draft recommendations
Publish draft recommendations October 2022  
Make final recommendations December 2022 Consider any further final submissions and prepare a report with the final recommendations
Stage Two Timeline
Recommendation to extend the Community Governance Review by the Monitoring Officer January 2023 Council approves an extension to the Community Governance Review
Update to the Terms of Reference authorised by the Working Group April 2023 Update to the Terms of Reference to specify the update to the timetable and the specific issues to be considered at stage two of the review.
Publish the updated Terms of Reference May 2023 Publish Terms of Reference and notify stakeholders of the commencement of stage two of the Review.
Prepare draft consultation document and invite initial submissions June to July 2023 Initial submissions invited from:
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Members of Parliament
  • District and County Councillors
  • Local groups and interested parties
  • LGBCE (Local Government Boundary Commission for England)
  • SALC (Suffolk Association of Local Councils)
Consider submissions August 2023 The Community Governance Review Working Group consider submissions/representations and prepare report of draft recommendations
Draft recommendations to be considered by Council and approved for further consultation 26 October 2023 Draft recommendations to be considered by Council and approved for further consideration
Publish draft recommendations for further consultation 10 November 2023 to 10 January 2024 Consultation with stakeholders on draft recommendations. Final recommendations prepared.
Consider submissions January 2024 CGR Working Group to consider submissions/representations and prepare final recommendations for report to Full Council
Publish further consultation report and Working Group final report March 2024 In advance of the final recommendations the results of the consultation to be released to interested stakeholders.
Council to either adopt Working Group recommendations or an alternative for the Battisford and Combs CGR 20 March 2024 Adoption entails final recommendations are published for final consultation before returning to Council to be approved. New recommendations entail a third consultation period preceding the above.
Council to either adopt Working Group Recommendations or an alternative for Onehouse and Stowmarket 25 April 2024

Town and Parish Councils to make representation.

Adoption entails final recommendations are published for final consultation before returning to Council to be approved. New recommendations entail a third consultation period preceding the above.

Third consultation period June-August 2024 This period is only necessary if Council recommendations differ from the Working Group's recommendations.
Final recommendations publish period From Council adaption(s) until next Council Meeting Publish final recommendations and allow for a period of time for any final comments from stakeholders
Council approves of recommendations Following the publish period(s)  
Make re-organisation order As soon as practicable after Council approval As necessary. A recommendation for no change entails no order.

 

What is a Community Governance Review

A community governance review is a legal process that provides an opportunity for principal councils to review and make changes to community governance within their areas. It involves consulting those living in the area and other interested parties and making sure they have a say in how their local communities are represented.

The Review can consider one or more of the following options:

  • Creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes
  • The naming of parishes and the style of new parishes and the creation of town councils
  • The electoral arrangements for parishes (for instance, the ordinary year of election; council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council, and parish warding)
  • Grouping parishes under a common parish council or de-grouping parishes
  • Consider other types of local arrangements, including parish meetings

The Review cannot:

  • change the number of councillors on Mid Suffolk Council
  • change the amount of money that a parish council raises through council tax (known as ‘precept’)

It is good practice to carry out a Community Governance Review every 10-15 years. However, as the principal authority, Mid Suffolk Council may schedule a review in response to a reasonable request from an individual, group or parish or following the receipt of a valid petition containing the sufficient number of signatures required to trigger a review.

Read more about the review process

You may also email the Community Governance Review team if you have further questions

Community Governance Review Considerations

Legislation requires that the council must ensure that community governance within the area:

  • reflects the identities and interests of the communities in the area
  • be effective and convenient and takes into account any other arrangements for the purpose of community representation or engagement in the area 

In considering proposals for change, the council will take the following into account:

  • a strong, inclusive community and voluntary sector
  • a sense of civic values, responsibility and pride
  • a sense of place – a place with a ‘positive’ feeling for people and local distinctiveness
  • reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area
  • the impact of community governance arrangements on community cohesion
  • the size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish

About parish councils

Parish and Town councils are the first level of local government.

Mid Suffolk hosts 95 Parish Councils and 20 Parish Meetings.

Parish councils have relatively few statutory functions (things they have to do). The statutory functions are, for example, the holding of meetings, the management of its finances and the preparation of annual accounts. A parish council employs staff, owns and manages premises, and provides services.

How do Parish Councils operate?

Residents of the parished area elect parish councillors. They represent residents and their interests and councillors will make most of the decisions about what a parish council does in meetings. Although the public has a right to attend meetings of a parish council and its committees, it is the councillors who collectively make decisions about council business and what services or facilities it provides.

How are they funded?

The parish council must carefully budget for the expenditure it will have to pay in the next financial year. A parish council may generate income from money from rents from premises that it leases or licences for use by others, or from the services or facilities it provides, for example sports facilities, off-street carparks. It may also receive grants for certain projects. The main source of income derives from the precept levied on the residents in its area. The precept is incorporated into a local resident’s council tax bill.

What do they do?

Although parish councils have few statutory functions or duties, there are many things they can do if they choose. What they choose to do will depend on the needs of the local community they serve. They have the discretion to exercise a range of statutory powers related to the provision or support of certain services or facilities which benefit their area, and/or the residents that live there. Examples might include sports facilities, allotments, local youth projects, bus shelters, litter bins, off street carparks, community centres, parks and open spaces, community transport schemes, neighbourhood planning, crime reduction measures, street lighting, festivals and fetes, traffic calming measures and tourism activities.

Is there a difference between a town and parish council?

No, they both have the same statutory powers and can provide the same services. The only differences are that a town council has decided that it should be known as a town council instead of a parish council, and a town council usually has a mayor. Since 2007 the alternative terms community, neighbourhood or village council can also be adopted, but there is also no difference in their powers.