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Terms of Reference for the Community Governance Review of Babraham and Sawston Civil Parishes to consider a proposed boundary change


  • South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC/the Council) has resolved to undertake a Community Governance Review of the boundary between the civil parishes of Babraham and Sawston.
  • This Review is to consider a boundary change to the civil parishes of Babraham and Sawston following 2 new developments.
  • In undertaking this Review the Council has considered the Guidance on Community Governance Reviews issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, published in 2010, which reflects Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and the relevant parts of the Local Government Act 1972, Guidance on Community Governance Reviews issued in accordance with section 100(4) of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 by the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England in March 2010, and the following regulations which guide, in particular, consequential matters arising from the Review: Local Government (Parishes and Parish Councils) (England) Regulations 2008 (SI2008/625). (The 2007 Act transferred powers to the principal councils which previously, under the Local Government Act 1997, had been shared with the Electoral Commission’s Boundary Committee for England.)
  • These Terms of Reference set out clearly the matters on which the Community Governance Review is to focus. We will publish this document on our website and hard copies will be made available on request from the District Council and on request from Babraham and Sawston Parish Clerks.
  • Although not at the instigation of a petition, Sawston Parish Council has made an application to the Council for a Community Governance Review and has expressed willingness to work with the Council in taking this forward.
  • The request received from Sawston Parish Council on 12 November 2020 was that a Community Governance Review should review the existing parish boundary as 2 new developments straddle the boundary of Babraham and Sawston.
  • The development H/1:b – North of Babraham Road (planning ref S/3729/18/FL) consists of 3.64 hectares and is entirely within the parish of Babraham whilst abutting the built environment of Sawston. Planning permission was granted on 28 August 2019 for 158 homes. The development H/1:c – South of Babraham Road consists of 11.64 ha and spans the parish boundary of Sawston and Babraham. The Council is anticipating an application for around 260 homes. The site is allocated within the South Cambridgeshire District Plan, 2018.
  • A Community Governance Review to gain the views of residents gives the District Council an opportunity to put in place strong boundaries, tied to firm ground detail, and remove anomalous parish boundaries. (LGBCE: Guidance on Community Governance Reviews: 85: 25)
  • The District Council must have regard to the need to secure community governance within the area under review such that it:
    • reflects the identities and interests of the community in that area; and
    • is effective and convenient; and
    • takes into account any other arrangements for the purposes of community representation or community engagement in the area.
  • A Community Governance Review is a review of the whole or part of the district to consider one or more of the following:
    • creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes;
    • the naming of parishes in the style of new parishes;
    • the electoral arrangements for parishes (the ordinary year of election; council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council; and parish warding); and
    • grouping parishes under a common parish council or de-grouping parishes.
  • Local Government Boundary Commission England (LGBCE) guidance states as far as boundaries between parishes are concerned, these should reflect the “no-man’s land” between communities represented by areas of low population or barriers such as rivers, roads or railways. They need to be, and be likely to remain, easily identifiable. For instance, factors to consider include parks and recreation grounds which sometimes provide natural breaks between communities, but they can equally act as focal points. A single community would be unlikely to straddle a river where there are no crossing points, or a large area of moor land or marshland. Another example might be where a community appeared to be divided by a motorway (unless connected by walkways at each end). Whatever boundaries are selected they need to be, and be likely to remain, easily identifiable. (LGBCE: Guidance on Community Governance Reviews: 83: 25)
  • In many cases a boundary change between existing parishes, or parishes and unparished areas, rather than the creation of an entirely new parish, will be sufficient to ensure that parish arrangements reflect local identities and facilitate effective and convenient local government. For example, over time, communities may expand with new housing developments. This can often lead to existing parish boundaries becoming anomalous as new houses are built across them resulting in people being in different parishes from their neighbours. (LGBCE: Guidance on Community Governance Reviews: 84: 25)
  • In deciding what recommendations to make the principal council must have regard to the need to secure that community governance reflects the identities and interests of the community in that area and is effective and convenient. The 2007 Act provides that it must also take into account any other arrangements (apart from those relating to parishes and their institutions) that have already been made, or that could be made, for the purposes of community representation or community engagement. (LGBCE: Guidance on Community Governance Reviews: 94: 27)
  • The Council’s constitution states the function of the Civic Affairs Committee with regard to Electoral Arrangements. The role of the committee includes, with regard to determination, to:
    • review district or parish electoral arrangements including boundaries and report recommendations to Council;
    • give parish meetings powers of parish councils;
    • increase / reduce the number of parish councillors;
    • change parish electoral arrangements where agreed, including parish warding;
    • appoint temporary parish councillors, s. 91 LGA, 1972.
  • The Committee may also recommend to Council:
    • district and district ward boundary changes arising from the review;
    • parish warding and boundary changes where not agreed;
    • Periodic Electoral Review;
    • new parish establishment.


  • The Council has drawn up and now publishes this Terms of Reference document. This document lays out the aims of the Review, the legislation that guides it and some of the policies that the Council considers important in the Review.
  • In coming to its recommendations in a Review, the Council will take account of the views of local people and stakeholders.
  • The Council will:
    • publish these Terms of Reference and take submissions via its website;
    • promote the process using targeted social media;
    • provide Terms of Reference and submission forms by request to the Sustainable Communities and Wellbeing Team (see contact details on front page);
    • accept postal submissions addressed to: Babraham / Sawston Community Governance Review, South Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6EA;
    • work with Babraham Parish Council, Sawston Parish Council and Pampisford Parish Council to ensure that residents are aware of the Review, informed about options and can access Terms of Reference documents and submission forms (hard copy and online);
    • make submission forms and Terms of Reference available by request from Parish Clerks as follows:
      • Babraham Parish Clerk [Email icon]
      • Sawston Parish Clerk
      • 01223 832 470
  • Submission forms and Terms of Reference will be made available and from accessible venues locally as follows:
    • Sawston Post Office 50 High St, Sawston, Cambridge. CB22 3BG

Timetable for the Review

  • Publication of the Terms of Reference formally begins the Review, and the Review should be completed within 12 months.
  • Section 93(8) of the 2007 Act requires the Community Governance Review to be concluded within a 12-month period; however, the Guidance, at paragraph 37, indicates that this time period “should be feasible”, but by necessary implication contemplates occasions when it may not be.  
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Timetable for Community Governance Review


Stage 1 publication of Terms of Reference

6 January 2021

Stage 1 submissions invited: Have your say

 6 January to 3 March 2021

Stage 1 submissions reviewed; draft recommendations presented to Civic Affairs Committee

March 2021

Stage 2 submissions invited: Have your say

6 April to 1 June 2021

Stage 2 submissions reviewed; recommendations presented to Civic Affairs Committee


Civic Affairs Committee recommendations presented to Council


Council can make a Reorganisation of Community Governance Order



Electorate forecasts

  • The existing Sawston parish electorate is 5,536. The electorate is forecast to increase by 418 in the next five years due to planned developments.
  • The existing Babraham parish electorate is 234. The electorate is not forecast to increase in the next five years as there are no planned developments.
  • The Greater Cambridge Housing Trajectory and 5 Year Housing Land Supply: April 2020 allocated planned homes against the address on the planning application and does not take into account parish boundaries. In this case, planned developments have been allocated to the parish of Sawston because of the address on the planning application.

Electoral arrangements

  • Changes to parish boundaries usually take place at the next scheduled elections of the parish. Elections are due in each of these parishes in May 2022.
  • Should Civic Affairs Committee, and then Council, agree to the proposed changes to the parish boundary, the District Council ward boundary will not be automatically updated. This will mean that the area affected will be in the Sawston parish but will remain with Babraham parish in the ward of Duxford.
  • Subsequent to the approval of any changes made by a Community Governance Review, the Council can write to the LGBCE to seek realignment of the ward boundary.
  • Every effort will be made to resolve this issue quickly, but due to the timing of the Review, it may be that the ward and parish boundaries are not aligned for the elections in May 2022.  

Reorganisation of community governance orders and commencement

  • The Review will be completed when the Council adopts the Reorganisation of Community Governance Order. Copies of this Order and the document(s) which set out the reasons for the decisions that the Council has taken (including where it has decided to make no change following a Review) will be deposited at the Council’s offices and made available on its website.
  • The provisions of the Order will take effect for financial and administrative purposes on 1 April 2022.
  • Any changes to boundaries of a parish council would normally take effect at the next scheduled election of the parish. The next scheduled parish elections in South Cambridgeshire will be held in May 2022.