Belle Vue House – SPS supports conversion proposals

SPS has written in support of proposals to convert Belle Vue House in Sudbury into two dwellings.  We have previously raised our serious concerns regarding the deteriorating condition of this prominent Victorian house situated within Belle Vue Park, and the urgent need to find a sustainable use for the building. Although it has been in public ownership for many years with a variety of public uses, we welcome the current plans to return the building to its original residential use, recognising that this will secure the future of the building and prevent further deterioration of the fabric. 

Newmarket’s heritage – good news for the future of Queensbury Stables

Queensbury Lodge Stables – image Phil Morley

Over a number of years SPS has urged that the development of a site adjacent to the listed Queensbury Stables should be reduced in scale in line with the adopted local plan policy and above all that must secure the restoration and viable reuse of the derelict listed buildings. 

Whilst a Planning Inspector has ruled that an appeal for a 123 dwelling should be allowed, we welcome his conclusion that the case had not been made for the proposed works to the listed buildings and therefore dismissed part of the appeal that related to the proposed alterations to the Stables. 

He imposed a Grampian condition on the planning permission for the new dwellings so that development on this site cannot commence until new details of the repair and refurbishment and reuse of the stables has been agreed by the local authority. SPS is pleased that the case for this important part of Newmarket’s heritage will finally be secured as part of the development.

The White Cottage, Framlingham – sadly demolished

Following our report in last month’s bulletin of the fire at the White Cottage in Framlingham, the College contacted SPS again on 8 August to inform us that the fire-damaged cottage was to be demolished. It had been decided that this was ‘urgently necessary’ after a structural engineer report and Council site visit confirmed demolition as the only course of action, given the health and safety risks posed by the building’s dangerous condition.  The Fire Service confirmed that no formal investigation into the cause of the fire was necessary, and no suspicious circumstances were reported.

This is a very disappointing end to the story for all of us who had championed this unassuming piece of Suffolk’s heritage over the years. 

The White Cottage after the fire in July

No further decisions have yet been made in relation to ongoing plans for the site. 

Shotley – plans for new dwellings rejected

SPS was pleased to learn that the Babergh Planning Committee voted to refuse an application on the edge of Shotley on landscape impact grounds.  SPS had objected to the proposals as the site is in a prominent Shotley plateau, located on the edge of the village and its development would negatively impact important landscape views both towards and from the adjacent AONB. 

Renewable energy

ENSO Solar farm – Inspector’s decision

SPS was disappointed to learn that the ENSO solar farm between Flowton and Burstal, near to the Bramford substation, has been allowed following a public inquiry.  The application site lies across two district authorities and earlier this year was consented by Babergh planning committee but refused at Mid Suffolk.  Unusually, MSDC declined to defend this decision at appeal which left local residents, the local community group CARE and Burstall and Bramford Parish Councils to fight on alone.

Although disappointing, this result was not unexpected; other recent solar farm decisions have demonstrated that a very high bar has been set making it difficult to resist proposed renewable energy schemes on the grounds of landscape or heritage harm. 

SPS and CPRE continue to urge that a rooftop first approach to solar is taken in order to reduce the impact on our countryside and limit the loss of food producing land whilst still working towards Net Zero.  

National Grid – Norwich to Tilbury pylons – SPS responds

The second round of non-statutory consultation on the proposed Norwich to Tilbury line (formerly known as East Anglia GREEN) was held in August.  SPS responded to the proposals which consisted of a Preferred Alignment of the new pylon line through the county including an undergrounded section through the Dedham Vale AONB.

Whilst responding in detail on aspects of the proposed route, we continue to call for a fully coordinated offshore solution to protect our countryside and communities and to minimise onshore infrastructure in Suffolk.  

We also called for significant improvements in engagement with affected communities regarding appropriate community or environmental benefits, and landscape scale mitigation.

More details on our response are available here.

SPS Retrofit workshop

We are now taking bookings for our Autumn retrofit training event in partnership with Historic England and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Building to be held on November 22nd at Haughley Park Barn.