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Stowmarket: Town council under fire for trying to grab “land and money” from the villages of Combs and Onehouse

06:00 15 April 2014

Stowmarket Town Council

Stowmarket Town Council's offices

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The leaders of two parishes have criticised a town council for attempting to grab their “land and money” as proposals to expand its boundaries are put forward.

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Stowmarket Town Council has come under fire from Combs and Onehouse parish councils, which argue the town’s borders have already encroached too far into their villages.

Ian Clark, chairman of Combs Parish Council, claimed the town was attempting a “land-grab”.

Ron Raisey, chairman of Onehouse Parish Council, said Stowmarket was trying to increase the boundary so it could up its existing 20,000 population to attract retail players to invest in the town centre.

The town council has put forward the proposals at a time when Stowmarket is due to expand with around 1,500 homes earmarked to be built over the next 13 years.

Mr Clark said his council had sent a letter to Mid Suffolk District Council, which will ultimately decided whether the proposals go ahead, as part of a consultation into the matter which finished yesterday.

“We just think it’s a land grab –they want the income, I do not see any benefit to the resident, only benefit to the town council who want to take in more money,” Mr Clark said.

“Stowmarket has bit by bit by bit eaten into Combs year-by-year and it’s relentless; they keeping telling us it’s the last time but they keep coming back every few years and grabbing a bit more – it just goes on.”

Mr Raisey said: “We are opposed to it, we feel it should stay within the Onehouse boundary, it’s really as simple as that.

“The residents who live in Union Road, which is going to be included, are all against it – it would take in a huge amount of the parish.

“They are saying in their view that they have so much to offer for the residents but basically all they run is the cinema and cemetery – they do not run anything else, the rest is run by the district council.”

The town council has called for the boundary to include planned new developments including Chilton Leys, which would currently lie mostly in Onehouse, and the Farriers Road/Poplar Hill development, which would include part of Combs.

Stowmarket town clerk, David Blackburn, said: “This is the most appropriate time to consider the review because of the new developments have not been built yet so it is desirable for all parties to consider this matter before the developments take place.

“The parish councils have got an opportunity to make representations to the district council.

“Clearly the development around the periphery of the town is a continuation of the existing development.”

Mid Suffolk is expected to produce draft proposals on its findings on July 1 following the consultation.

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