Our recent involvements

More new houses on the Shotley peninsula?

Applications for 18 and 48 dwellings on two separate sites along The Street in Shotley within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Project Area and are within the setting of the AONB itself. These proposals have generated many objections from local people primarily due to the increasing traffic which will be generated in conjunction with the Ganges development which is underway. SPS has highlighted this concern and called for the need for more housing on the Shotley peninsula to be fully justified. SPS has objected to these applications on landscape and heritage grounds.  The larger of the two developments will be in a prominent Shotley plateau location on the edge of the village and we have called for assessment of the impact of views from the AONB to be provided.  The smaller application is for 18 dwellings either side of grade II listed Rose Farmhouse.  This is the only listed building in the vicinity and the sites compromise the last remaining piece of its original farmland setting.

Works to listed buildings at risk in Peasenhall

SPS has commented on a proposal for two new dwellings to the rear of a pair of listed cottages in the Peasenhall Conservation Area. The cottages have suffered from years of neglect and are now on the buildings at risk list, however we have expressed concern about the two dwellings which have been proposed to cover the costs of repair and conversion. If this ‘enabling development’ approach is to achieve the desired outcomes it is essential that fully costed schedules of repair and appropriate legal agreements are put in place. Without this information there is a risk that further erosion of the significance and setting of the listed buildings will occur. We have therefore suggested that significantly more detailed information is required relating to the condition of the fabric of the listed cottages, the extent of repair and likely schedules of costs.

Nayland – 5 new dwellings within the Dedham Vale AONB

SPS has written broadly in support of the proposals but highlighted the need for the highest quality of design to be delivered on this sensitive site.  Unfortunately, an adjacent site has recently been developed incorporating a disappointing level of detailing and layout and SPS is keen that the opportunity is taken to raise the design level in this location and potentially filter views of the earlier scheme from key viewpoints.

Campsea Ashe equestrian centre approved at committee

SPS had objected to the proposals on the grounds that the site was an historically important open space included on Suffolk’s Historic Environment Record which we considered should be considered a non-designated heritage asset.  Unfortunately planning officers rejected this interpretation and recommended the scheme for approval – it was approved by 5 votes to 2 at committee.

Higham – residential extensions withdrawn

SPS objected to an application for a substantial extension and alteration to a dwelling in the Dedham Vale AONB. The site is on the edge of the Higham Conservation Area and SPS raised concerns that the scale and design of the proposal would harm both the character and appearance of the conservation area as well as the setting of the adjacent listed cottage. We are pleased that this application has subsequently been withdrawn.

Energy update

Sizewell C

A High Court judicial review into a legal challenge by Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) and Stop Sizewell C has been set for Wednesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 23. A first-stage review of the legal appeal was initially recommended for refusal, but the matter will now be determined by a formal hearing into the grounds that the decision was unlawful due to concerns about the maintenance of a water supply and the resilience of the coastline. Other concerns include the environmental impact of the new power plant and the threat posed to the site by coastal erosion.

EA1(N) and EA2 offshore windfarm Friston substation site

Unfortunately, following the judicial review hearing at the High Court on 15 & 16 November, the judge, found against SASES on all six grounds upon which they were seeking judicial review including flood risk, noise impacts, heritage impacts, cumulative impact with other energy schemes connecting at Friston. SASES are considering pursuing an appeal.

On 31 January the Court of Appeal granted permission for a case brought by Suffolk Energy Action Solutions (SEAS) to proceed in the Administrative Court. SEAS is bringing this claim on ten grounds including evidence of a systemic strategy on the part of the applicant (Scottish Power Renewable) of making secret ‘incentive’ payments to landowners with the aim of preventing those landowners from giving any evidence to the Examination.  Permission was previously refused for SEAS to pursue this claim, however in allowing the case to proceed, Lord Justice Warby stated that the case “is arguable with a real prospect of success”.  At the time of writing, we await details of when the case will be heard.

Sunnica solar energy park

The Public Inquiry into the large solar energy park proposed in West Suffolk/ East Cambridgeshire continues.  The applicant has submitted a number of amendments and new evidence during the Examination process which adds a greater burden on local authorities and campaigners who have to examine, assess the consequences and respond on these amendments within a strict timetable. In December Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader Councillor Richard Rout told the Planning Inspectorate’s Examination Authority panel that it is “the poorest application I have dealt with to date”. He suggested that Sunnica had “not adequately engaged with local people and businesses, nor seemingly done its homework on the enormous impacts this solar farm will have”. The Examination is due to conclude at the end of March.

Future co-ordination of energy projects

Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP Minister of State for Energy and Climate has written to local campaigners to outline work that is underway to incentivise the coordination of infrastructure in the region. This is something SPS has long been campaigning for. Whilst it is of little comfort for those who are affected by proposals which have already been consented or are a long way down the process, it is encouraging that efforts from campaigners may have pressurised the government into intervening to prevent the current piecemeal way developer lead schemes are brought forward. Read the letter here.

Upcoming event – open to all

Heritage led regeneration in action

A vintage bus tour and exclusive access to completed projects

Thursday 20 April. 10 am – 2 pm

Join us to discover the fascinating heritage projects underway in Lowestoft’s Heritage Action Zones.

Our day will start at the East Anglian Transport Museum for a talk by HAZ Project Manager Rebecca Styles. We will travel by vintage bus to visit several heritage projects before returning to the museum where lunch will be available to purchase from the cafe.

More details and booking available here.

Note: there will be some walking necessary between sites in the town centre up to 0.6 miles in total.

Media articles

East Anglian Daily Times – 14 December 2022 – Director’s monthly column:

New measures give people more power over planning

East Anglian Daily Times – 20 January 2023 – Director’s monthly column:

Planning dial starts to shift towards local communities