Community Governance Review
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
Stage One and Two
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.
To ensure effective consultation, Mid Suffolk District Council will send 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 may make a representation.
The Council invites 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.
How do I get involved?
Your views on the draft recommendations are welcomed.
If you would prefer to return the completed survey by post, please mail it to:
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils
8 Russell Road
Ipswich IP1 2BX
All representations must be made by no later than Wednesday 10 January 2024.
Draft Recommendations for Onehouse Parish and Stowmarket Town
The recommendations that we are seeking 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.
- The current boundary between Stowmarket and Onehouse does reflect the identities and interests of the communities of the area.
- There is still effective and convenient local government as the Parish/Town boundary would remain co-terminus with the electoral boundary.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Draft Recommendations for Battisford and Combs Parishes
The recommendations that we are seeking your opinions on, are:
- Proposed inclusion of Bowl Meadow Development currently in Combs Parish Council area to be included within the Battisford Parish area.
- Dwellings along Bildeston Road to be re-allocated from the Combs Parish Council area.
- 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.
- Council is asked to agree that the Bildeston Road remain as part of Combs Parish Council - No change.
- 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.
- The Bildeston Road dwellings are long standing existing dwellings which already identify with Combs Parish Council.
Revised terms of reference for the Community Governance Reviews
The terms of reference are also available for inspection by appointment at Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.
Community Governance Review Notice
Stage One Published Orders
Copies of published orders are available for inspection by appointment at Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.
Community Governance Review Revised Timetable
|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:
|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 CGR Task and Finish 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:
|Consider Submissions||August 2023||The Community Governance Review Task and Finish 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 final report||January 2024||1-month period for any final comments on the recommendations.|
|Final recommendations to be considered by Council||22 February 2024||Final recommendations to be considered by Council with resolution to make a re-organisation order.|
|Publish final recommendations||As soon as practicable after publication of final recommendations||Publish final recommendations and make re-organisation 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.
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.