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Stowmarket and Onehouse boundary row at 446-home development continues as 17 villagers speak out





Residents have spoken out over a controversial boundary dispute as they believe their village could be ‘swallowed up’ by a neighbouring town.

The people of Onehouse, including members of the Parish Council, have voiced their concerns over the 446 homes in the developments from Hopkins Homes and Bloor Homes which sit on the boundary between Onehouse and Stowmarket.

At the Stowmarket Town Council meeting on Wednesday, May 17, a push for judicial review was discussed as the town councillors are keen to see the boundary line moved in Union Road to have the entire housing estate fall into the Stowmarket boundary.

Onehouse residents have shared their views on the controversial boundary. Picture: Rich Marsham
Onehouse residents have shared their views on the controversial boundary. Picture: Rich Marsham

However, some of the residents currently living in the new houses have spoken out as they do not want to see the boundary moved as it is believed changing the properties from Onehouse to Stowmarket could increase Council Tax by hundreds of pounds.

Resident Melanie Wall said: “When you move house you have to consider all the costs and that includes Council Tax - it is one of the reasons why we chose Onehouse instead of living in Stowmarket.

“If the boundary is changed, it’s really going to affect us and everyone knows how hard it has been with the cost-of-living crisis.

The housing developments is off Union Road. Picture: Rich Marsham
The housing developments is off Union Road. Picture: Rich Marsham

“You think you’ve budgeted for it, then they change the boundary and suddenly you can’t afford to live here and you’re back on the bread line.”

Christine Hargen, who has lived in the village for 45 years, said: “Onehouse is a beautiful village surrounded by open countryside and a lot of us residents have no desire at all to be engulfed into Stowmarket - I think it’s absolutely appalling.”

Seventeen residents put forward their concerns around the boundary issues and many said that the new estate could provide funding to help reinstate the village’s community centre.

Sarah Merritt moved to Onehouse from Chelmsford six months ago as she wanted to experience living within a tight knit village community.

This map shows where the housing estate sits in between the ‘strategic gap’ between Stowmarket and Onehouse. Picture: Stowmarket Town Council
This map shows where the housing estate sits in between the ‘strategic gap’ between Stowmarket and Onehouse. Picture: Stowmarket Town Council

She said: “I love it here - I wanted country life, I wanted peace - and Hopkins Homes told me that’s what I was getting.

“I love going to the local pub, going for walks in the woods and Paupers Graves - yes Stowmarket is there but I don't use the facilities and this whole situation just sounds like an effort for a set of people to grab a load of money.”

Stowmarket Town Clerk David Blackburn has said that the town would miss out on £1 million worth of Council Tax and CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funding over the course of 10 years if the boundary is not changed.

Joanne Copping, Chairman of Onehouse Parish Council. Picture: Rich Marsham
Joanne Copping, Chairman of Onehouse Parish Council. Picture: Rich Marsham

However, Ron Raisey, former chairman of the Onehouse Parish Council, disagrees with this statement.

“That money is not theirs to have in the first place”, he said. “They would actually gain that money.”

“The greenbelt between Stowmarket and Onehouse is getting smaller and smaller and our village will be swallowed up if we’re not careful.”

The village’s residents believe that changing the boundary will increase the rate of Council Tax for those living at the Hopkins Homes and Bloor Homes development. Picture: Rich Marsham
The village’s residents believe that changing the boundary will increase the rate of Council Tax for those living at the Hopkins Homes and Bloor Homes development. Picture: Rich Marsham

Mid Suffolk District Council has set out a timescale for a consultation regarding a boundary review to see how residents feel about any change and will make a recommendation later this year which will include consulting with the Boundary Commission.

As part of this timeline, community feedback will be considered in December and January - however any official boundary change will not be implemented until 2027 as it would create conflict with the recent elections.

Onehouse Chairman Joanne Copping believes that 80 per cent of the estate is currently part of the village and if any boundary change were to take place, it should include the remaining 20 per cent becoming part of Onehouse.

She said: “The most important thing is the views of our residents and the fact we’ve had so many people out today is really encouraging.

“Stowmarket has 20 per cent of the housing estate within their boundary - and I think it would make more sense to me for the boundary review to actually take that 20 per cent within Onehouse rather than the other way round.

“It is true that when the development was first put forward, we rejected it as we always want to protect our green spaces - so that will always be our take of what our community wants so we always try to protect that first.

“That being said, that doesn’t mean that once the development is here we don’t welcome these new residents into our community - we would love to see new faces coming into our village so to have new people coming in is simply fantastic.”

Stowmarket Town Council, Hopkins Homes and Bloor Homes have been approached for comment.