The Brook Farm Residents Association (BFRA) has been formed to primarily protect and further the interests of homeowners and residents of the Brook Farm development in Saxmundham, Suffolk. BFRA also promote the well-being of all residents of Saxmundham and the surrounding villages.
We are a non-political and non-sectarian organisation run on democratic principles. We are strong advocates of the concepts of openess and accountability. We are happy to advise and support those who want to set up a similar residents association for their local community and share experiences with similar organisations.
The Brook Farm development comprises over 600 households and currently represents around 40% of the population of Saxmundham. The BFRA membership is growing steadily and it currently stands at nearly 300 households. The BFRA objectives are:
- To promote the quality of life of the residents, the environment and the amenities in “Brook Farm”.
- To promote the views of the members of the Association and a sense of Community within the area.
- To work and co-operate with local organisations to achieve these ends.
What was once Brook Farm has slowly been developed by Abbey Homes, Bloor, Bovis and Potton to provide a mix of over 600 new homes in Saxmundham – from starter homes, flats and retirement bungalows to four and five-bedroom houses. Having started over 10 years ago, the development was completed in October 2005. The estate is roughly defined as being households on/off Brook Farm Road – bordered by the A12 to the West, Carlton Park to the North, The B1121 (Kelsale Road) to the East and the B1119 (Rendham Road) to the South.
New residents have come from a number of locations to live in the area, and although we know our neighbours, it takes much longer to build a community. It is with this process of building, done in a sustainable way, that BFRA concerns itself.
The BFRA has a written constitution, and holds Annual General Meetings, where members of the Management Committee are elected for the period of a year. They may be re-elected or replaced – according to the wishes of the BFRA members.
The Brook Farm Residents Association was formed in the back room of The Bell Hotel, in Saxmundham, on the evening of Wednesday, February 11th 2004. Don Tricker, the founder and first chairman of the BFRA, set up the volunteer founding committee. He invited a representative mix of selected residents, who came from different geographical parts of the development, different age groups and different households, to form the first committee. Soon a bank account was set up with HSBC in Saxmundham High Street and local authority grants began to come in to support the fledgling enterprise.
Since its formation in formation in February 2004, the BFRA has:
1) produced a written constitution, opened up a bank account and established auditing procedures for the finances.
2) successfully bid for nearly £2,000 in set up grants, donations and free services, by sponsors in its first year and subsequently was granted a Lottery grant of £4,900 for equipment (a generator, a PA system with radio microphones, two “marquees and table and chairs).
3) set up and developed this live, comprehensive and interactive website.
4) elected an Executive Committee, by democratic vote, at the first AGM (March, 2005), and subsequently each year.
5) held members educational meetings covering Broadband, Crime Prevention, Local Planning and a Local History Talk.
6) held members social events eg Beetle Drive, a Ladies Night, a Local Brewery Visit, a Car Tresure Hunt and Barbeque, a “Mind & Body” evening, Family Quiz Nights and Family Pantomime Coach Outing.
7) progressed numerous members queries and suggestions – including road safety, inconsiderate parking, criminal damage, local signage, street lighting, obstructions on pathways, dog fouling and the general clearance of building debris and the clearing of the Gull Stream.
8) reviewed the weekly District Council planning applications and made representations on major applications affecting Saxmundham, which are reported on the website.
9 ) have representation on the local Crime & Disorder Prevention Panel. Regular crime alerts & reports appear on the website (see Crime & Disorder pages)
10) represented residents at the Suffolk Coastal Local Strategic Partnership Forum (a district planning meeting involving key local statutory authorities with business, voluntary and community organisations).
11.) produced and delivered quarterly newsletters (members only) progressing from 2-page A4 sheets to a 16-page A5 booklet newsletters.
12.) produced and promoted 10 Family Fun Days between 2004 to 2013.
13.) Organised numerous band nights at the town’s Market Hall, promoting local musicians.
14.) Run campaigns in support of a Skate Park and and for a One-Stop Health & Social Care Centre, to bring much-needed amenities to short-changed Saxmundham.
15) actively supported the creation of the Saxmundam & District Community Partnership and maintained involvement in its running.
16.) annually recruiting nearly half of all 600 “Brook Farm” households …
and growing steadily!
17.) Implemented a system of “Road Reps” for communicating quickly and efficiently with members.
As a matter of principle, we open our events and meetings to all members of the local community, although at our executive meetings and AGM, voting and speaking rights are only extended to BFRA members.