Some of our involvements this month

Shop frontages – SPS calls for sympathetic signage

One of the Sudbury shops seeking permission for new signage. Image: Collin West. British Listed Buildings

This month we have objected to two separate applications for internally illuminated signage in the centre of historic Sudbury, both of which are listed buildings. Illumination in historic high streets needs the most careful control if the special character of the townscape is not to be eroded. SPS strongly believes that the conservative approach to advertising is essential if our historic built environment is to be protected. Let’s hope that Babergh planners agree.

Future of Aldeburgh’s fishing huts

SPS has been approached by the Town Council which has serious concerns about an application to extend and change the use of one of Aldeburgh’s famous fishing huts to a hot food take-away with seating. Whilst of the firm opinion that fish and chips is a fundamental part of the character of our historic seaside towns, we share the Town Council’s concerns around the risk of negative impacts upon nearby residential amenity, the traditional character and appearance of Crag’s Path as well as the precedent that this kind of development might have on other businesses in the town.

Piece of historic Felixstowe under threat?

SPS has objected to the demolition of a simple 1920’s white weatherboarded bungalow and replacement with a 5 bed detached dwelling. The property has been identified in the draft Felixstowe Conservation Area Appraisal as a Positive Building which makes a contribution to the area. SPS has highlighted the inadequate level of heritage assessment and insufficient information submitted.

We argued that it is not currently possible to make a reliable judgment about the contribution the building makes to the character and appearance of the Felixstowe Conservation Area.

We also have concerns about the design quality of the proposed replacement in terms of the scale, design and layout.

Image: Google Maps

Lavenham’s landscape setting should be protected

SPS has objected to outline plans for 6 dwellings on the Bury Road to the north of Lavenham.  The landscape to the north of Lavenham is rolling, undulating agricultural countryside and the application site is in an elevated position. We have challenged the developer’s claim that this is an infill site as we consider that a collection of existing cottages is currently separate from the village edge and will be subsumed into the village by the proposed development.  The character of the current compact form of the village will be seriously compromised by a strung-out row of houses along the Bury Road. The proposal is not well related to the existing pattern of development and we highlighted that this is therefore contrary to policy H1 of the Lavenham Neighbourhood Plan.

Consultation responses

Permitted development rights for solar panels consultation

The government has been consulting on a number of proposed changes to current permitted development rights.  We have no objections to most of these but have raised serious concerns regarding a proposed relaxations of controls over the installation of roof, wall mounted and free-standing solar panels within conservation areas. 

We consider that the existing controls in conservation areas should be maintained to ensure that the visual amenity within the designated area is safeguarded. In many cases, walls and the areas of garden or driveway in front of dwellings within a conservation area contribute towards the character of the designated area and therefore should be protected.

We think that the proposed changes have the potential to seriously undermine a system that has successfully managed to control the most harmful visual impacts in our most significant historic towns, villages and landscapes for over 50 years. We have also urged CPRE to resist these changes.

Babergh Mid Suffolk Joint Local Plan

SPS has responded to a consultation on main modifications to the Plan. In October 2021, due to issues highlighted by the Inspectors, the Examination of the Joint Plan stalled. It was agreed to progress ‘Part 1’ of the Plan without site allocations or a spatial strategy which will be followed by ‘Part 2’ once additional work regarding the Plan’s spatial distribution and the housing site selection process has been carried out. The proposed modifications are largely to allow for this separation and we welcome any progress towards the adoption of the Plan. We therefore have no objections to the modifications but raised a point of clarification regarding enabling development.

Five Estuaries offshore wind turbines

 Although the proposed wind turbines could be up to 420m high this proposal is considered to have less impact on the Suffolk Coast than other Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. The turbines will be 37km from the shore, further east than existing Galloper and Greater Gabbard wind farms. The proposed landfall and substation sites are in Essex. Therefore SPS has not responded directly to this statutory consultation.  We have however supported the AONB Partnership response which calls for a thorough assessment of the visual impacts on the AONB of the supersized turbines which may be visible in conjunction with other turbine arrays.

SPS in the media

East Anglian Daily Times – 18 April 2023 – SPS Director’s monthly opinion piece:

Coastal town seeing benefits of heritage-led regeneration. East Anglian Daily Times

SPS event next month – book now

An afternoon at Ickworth House and gardens with tea at the Ickworth Hotel

Monday 15 May3pm – 6pm

We are delighted to be able to offer a bespoke visit to Ickworth House by kind invitation of the National Trust.

The afternoon will begin with a talk by the General Manager on the history of the house and the current restoration work of the estate including issues relating to sustainability. We will follow this with the choice of a tour of the art collection, led by the Curator of Collections, or a tour of the pleasure gardens, led by the Rangers.

We will end with afternoon tea in the library at the Ickworth Hotel overlooking the beautiful gardens.

More details and booking available here.

We are delighted that our sponsor for this event is Reeman Dansie, Auctioneer.

April event – Heritage-led regeneration in action

A mixture of SPS Members and new faces joined us for a fascinating day out in Lowestoft on 20 April – A vintage bus tour from the  East Anglian Transport Museum and exclusive access to heritage projects in Lowestoft – a write-up about our successful event this month is available here.