The Coddenham Parish Community Plan
This page is where you’ll find;
- A Summary of the 2023 Parish Community Plan for Coddenham. The text immediately follows and is available in printed form, with a copy having been delivered to every household by the end of June 2023. A copy to download is here; Summary Community Plan
- The full Coddenham Parish Community Plan 2023 can be downloaded here.
- Some of the links and appendices referred to in the plan are at the foot of this post (but you should be able to find all, by clicking on the links in the full report).
You are encouraged to forward and share copies of the plan with others, particularly those without internet access. Use the contact details to comment or contribute. You can also comment on this post, alert us to any difficulties or share on your socials.
The Summary and Introduction to the Coddenham Parish Community Plan.
Coddenham is a rural Suffolk parish, with excellent transport links via the A14 which bisects the Parish to its south, having a stable population of just over 600 people, a rich history and a strong sense of community.
In mid 2022, a survey of Coddenham’s 279 households was conducted and responded to by 140
of them. The overwhelming sentiments were that Coddenham is a lovely place to live, with many households having been resident for over 20 years; any change should be modest and evolutionary – steady as she goes/small steps – and that traffic remains the major issue for all residents.
Coddenham benefits from its organisations and the amenities which they provide and maintain, with the Coddenham Community Response Group (CCRG) drawing them together. The CCRG was born out of a community-based pandemic response to support neighbours who were vulnerable, shielding or just worried, reducing anxiety where possible. Post pandemic it has been retained to maximise benefits to the Parish through collaboration, given that many volunteers within the Parish are shared across organisations and with projects and events often requiring the involvement of more than one body. Continued collaboration is the primary tenet of Coddenham’s Plan 2023-2030. This is not only within the Parish, but also with other bodies to benefit the Parish: Suffolk County Council (SCC), Mid-Suffolk District Council (MSDC), adjoining parishes, local businesses etc.
As its 23 years since Coddenham produced a Parish Plan, coming out of the pandemic seemed a watershed moment to consider the future of the community, retaining the good bits, but providing a little more direction in areas which are important to residents and where more might be done.
The Parish’s population in the past 10 years has plateaued, increasing by only 5 between census dates in 2011 and 2021. The population is also ageing, in part because residents stay. There is some desire for a refresh if only to stop an osmotic transition into a retirement community, with the Parish retaining younger residents, when they leave the family home and don’t wish to move away and to attract younger people especially families into the area, so Coddenham remains a proper mixed ages village parish. This will mean building new homes, but if undertaken at a level similar to what the Parish has seen over the past 25 years and preserving the conservation area, this will be acceptable to most residents. This likely means ‘starter homes’ near the Village and larger family homes in hamlet locations, extensions to existing developments and alongside the Old Norwich Road.
Coddenham is the proud home to the last Almshouses to be registered in England at Mary Day Close, which are maintained by The Day Foundation as homes for those members of Parish (or those with a Parish connection) in their third age. Many in the Parish are keen to see something similar for the younger members of the community. This might take the form of a Community Land Trust (CLT) using a Rural Exception Site (RES), under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). To progress housing development in the Parish, the proposal is to establish a working group Housing and Development Group (Group 1) drawn from the Parish Council and other interested residents willing to give up their time to work with landowners to establish a housing plan.
Roads and Traffic
The issue of traffic takes a number of forms: speeding on the B1078, School Road and the Old Norwich Road; use of The Hollows as a rat run; congestion in the High Street, in part due to HGVs, breaching the 7.5T limit and articulated traffic travelling east to west; damage to buildings and parked vehicles and danger to pedestrians; pollution; increasing numbers of road rage incidents and frequent road closures. The Roads Action Group (RAG) (Group 4) has already been re-established and a meeting has taken place with: Suffolk Highways, Suffolk Trading Standards, the Police and our District (MSDC) and Suffolk County councillors, with a number of actions agreed. These form the backdrop of the Plan for traffic related issues and will be progressed by RAG, with new members sought to join the group to ensure coverage of opinions across the Parish.
Energy Conservation and Recycling
Being a Parish with a longstanding history, its property stock includes many examples dating back up to six centuries. 42 household properties are listed. As befits historic housing many dwellings are draughty and with no mains gas in the Parish, are heated using oil and/or solid fuel in the main. Last year’s survey confirmed clear interest in seeking ways to improve the carbon footprint of Coddenham’s housing, especially given that energy costs are likely to stay relatively high and be subject to regular fluctuation. It’s unlikely that there is a ‘one size, fits all solution’, but the example of Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire, which with the collaboration of its county and district councils, has become England’s first ‘heat pump village’ is a blueprint for what might be achieved. 150 of Swaffham Prior’s 300 households have signed up to a community heat pump scheme which doesn’t require any change to the interior pipework of participants. The model is one that might be replicated and is being considered by many other parishes. Progressing meaningful change is going to require a dedicated group of parishioners to form an Energy Conservation and Recycling Group (Group 2), who will better document the challenge and work up feasible options, possibly up to and including something similar to that in Swaffham Prior.
Before leaving energy conservation, credit should be given to
The Coddenham Centre – our Parish Hall and so much more – for its installation of improved insulation, air source heat pumps, solar panels, with storage batteries and its acquisition of funding to add LED lighting to minimise its carbon footprint. In addition to its being an achievement in its own right, it provides experienced input into Group 2.
Green spaces and Footpaths
Conservation and the environment are important to Coddenham’s parishioners, no more so than in the case of its green spaces and footpaths. The former come in the form of Broomhill, Mill Hill, Three-cocked Hat, the Churchyard the Nucleus Plantation, the Recreation Ground and the Burial Ground. All encourage wildlife to thrive. Maintenance is shared out amongst a band of dedicated volunteers, supported by specialist help e.g. tree surgeons when required. Increasingly taking a holistic view across the Parish’s green spaces is seen as desirable. As a step towards this, Suffolk Wildlife Trust was engaged in late 2022 to undertake a wildlife survey of Coddenham’s green spaces, with the report delivered acting as the basis of a management plan. The next step is to review Coddenham’s footpaths, identifying actions needed to improve signage and utility. The collective interest in the Parish’s surroundings lends itself to overseeing them not being the domain of an existing organisation, but one drawn from across the Parish, a new Green Spaces and Footpaths Group (Group 3).
For community to thrive, it needs to be inclusive and have places to meet. The Parish’s geography doesn’t make either simple, having a village towards the north-east of the Parish and several hamlets strewn across the rest of the Parish, with some more naturally gravitating to adjoining parishes and the town of Needham Market. Even within the Village itself there is a degree of division between the Church Road, High Street, School Road nexus and the rest of the Village; a ‘them and us’ situation, albeit with small ‘ts’ and ‘us’. We’re not perfect and there are many things that we can do, starting with ensuring all residents know what’s on at any time, from the myriad channels available, including a very comprehensive Parish website: https://www.coddenham-parish.uk. Post pandemic, holding events that are both open to all and where residents are encouraged to attend is viewed as an important step. We saw that with the fete in 2022, which was very well attended across all age groups.
The Coddenham Centre (TCC) is our primary hub and acts as the venue for our major community events. TCC is supplemented by: St. Mary’s Church, the Coddenham Country Club and the café at The Coddenham Community Shop. Many responding to the Survey expressed a desire to see a Pub restored to the Parish. Emotionally this has significant and widespread appeal, but it isn’t without challenges be they economic, environmental and in terms of the impact a pub would have on the existing hubs and their volunteers. Accepting that taking a pub concept forward will be a ‘slow burn’ this again requires a group dedicated to the cause to be formed; the Pub (or Alternative Hub) Action Group. (Group 5).
Whereas the Plan has several actions that can and will be taken forward by existing organisations, some will require a wider group of volunteers than the current ‘usual suspects’, accepting that some previous volunteers have now aged to a point that they have needed to hang up their ‘volunteering hat’. Hopefully this document will encourage others to step forward, from helping with a one-off 4 hours green space maintenance stint to a regular weekly slot in the Community Shop to joining and contributing to one of the five Groups listed above.
The full Coddenham Parish Community Plan – Download a full copy HERE
Some of the Appendices are listed here;