Boundary dispute

VILLAGERS are fighting a move to redraw their parish boundary, effectively merging their homes with a neighbouring town where they would have to pay far higher council tax bills.

VILLAGERS are fighting a move to redraw their parish boundary, effectively merging their homes with a neighbouring town where they would have to pay far higher council tax bills.

Mid Suffolk District Council is considering classifying 98 homes on the edge of Combs, in Lindsey Way and roads off it, as part of Stowmarket.

The town has sprawled out to merge with Combs parish and if the boundaries are redrawn, the families living in the 98 homes would be liable for the Stowmarket Town Council element of the council tax bill, instead of Combs Parish Council's charge.

That would see the bill for a band D property rise from about £12 charged by Combs Parish Council to the £89 levied by Stowmarket Town Council, an increase of £77.


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Bob Paton, Combs Parish Council chairman, said it had voted to oppose the move after consulting villagers.

"The overwhelming feeling is that people wanted to stay with Combs and I believe that motivation is that they do not want to pay more than £70 extra on band D properties," he added.

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"There are no physical or community boundaries between those houses and the rest of the Stowmarket houses in that area, there's been a continuous development spreading out from Combs Ford and they happen to be on land that is technically within Combs parish."

Stowmarket town councillor Keith Myers-Hewitt said he believed the hike could cause hardship for some villagers if it went through.

Mid Suffolk District Council has also been looking at another boundary where a development has seamlessly crossed from Stowmarket into neighbouring parishes - the Chilton Hall estate where 51 homes are technically within the parish of Haughley.

The council said it did not believe its boundary review would lead to any changes coming into force before 2007.

What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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