The existing boundary between Stowmarket and Onehouse is to be retained after councillors at Mid Suffolk District Council voted to keep it.

A public consultation found 73% of local residents did not want the boundary changed, but councillors raised concerns about the survey process and the complex wording of the question.

It comes after around 500 homes were built around Union Road on the boundary of Onehouse and Stowmarket by Endurance Estates Land Promotion Ltd and Paul Barnard, and Hopkins Homes.

East Anglian Daily Times: The council was deciding whether areas A, B, and C should move from Onehouse into Stowmarket.The council was deciding whether areas A, B, and C should move from Onehouse into Stowmarket. (Image: Mid Suffolk District Council)

Jo Copping, chair of Onehouse Parish Council, said: “Stowmarket Town Council objected to the consultation and has taken the stance that despite a robust review, where the working group has found in favour of no change, they will seek to take legal action should the outcome be current boundary remains in place.

“As a relatively new councillor compared to some of my more long-standing colleagues, I am shocked that this type of bullying tactic would be employed to sway the overall decision and it is our belief that this falls far short of a gold standard council.”

The majority of 848 responses to the 2023-24 review of boundaries were in favour of the status quo.

East Anglian Daily Times: The consultation questions were described by councillors as confusing.The consultation questions were described by councillors as confusing. (Image: Mid Suffolk District Council)

But Stowmarket Town Council clerk David Blackburn maintained that the consultation wasn’t robust.

He said: “With the current review, we are faced with further large-scale development right on the edge of Stowmarket. In these circumstances, I would pose the following question to you: do you really want to put approximately 1,000 occupiers of those new homes into Onehouse, doubling the size of that village at a stroke and merging Stowmarket with Onehouse by removing the green gap between the two places?

“The members of Stowmarket Town Council believe that what took place did not constitute an effective piece of public consultation. It did not provide balanced information to the public about the two options but merely presented Option A to be rubber stamped.”

Mid Suffolk councillors were equally divided, with many unhappy the consultation had not been carried out before the Union Road developments began and when Stowmarket Town Council first requested a review in 2017.

After around two hours of debate, the full council voted 21-10 in favour of keeping the existing boundary.