The SPS team is continuing to scrutinise planning matters across the county as we primarily work from home.  The following is an overview of our work and involvements in the past month.  We are contactable via email at

Key involvements this month:

Ipswich – 4 College Street


SPS wrote in support of the application submitted by Ipswich Borough Council to restore and convert this building at risk in the town centre into office use. The plight of this prominent heritage asset has been ongoing for decades involving compulsory acquisition and a damaging fire. We congratulate the borough council on finally progressing with proposals to bring this building back into a sustainable use.

Chilton – Gas fired power plant within the Chilton industrial area. SPS has objected to the proposed use of this site due to the proximity of grade I listed St Mary’s church. 

Whilst the setting of the church is already impacted by the industrial area, the site is immediately adjacent to land allocated for a graveyard extension.  We also have concerns that the screening by trees of the site including 6m high fencing and unspecified lighting will be inadequate in the winter.

Raydon – 10 Sulley’s Hill – SPS was consulted on a revised application for a large, modern replacement dwelling within the Dedham Vale AONB.  SPS had raised strong objections against a previous refused scheme which was dismissed by a Planning Inspector at appeal due to the impact on AONB landscape.  Some revisions to the design are welcome including the siting within the plot and the visually recessive facing materials.  However, SPS continues to raise concerns over the large scale, the amount of glazing on elevations facing the Brett Valley and the extent of lighting within the garden.

Reydon – St Felix School – Sports pitches.  SPS has objected to the siting of a new pitch adjacent to a previously consented residential development site on a disused rugby pitch.  The selected site is within the AONB landscape and a County Wildlife site and SPS has called for sites closer to the school buildings to be considered.

Bildeston – single dwelling within conservation area – SPS submitted a strong objection to the proposed backland house that will harm the setting of adjacent listed buildings and the street scene with the creation of hardstanding parking to the front of the listed property. The back garden boasts a group of protected trees and SPS expressed concern that the proposals will pose an ongoing threat of reduction and felling.

Debenham – 18 dwellings – SPS has supported the Parish Council in objecting to this application which is not in accordance with the adopted Neighbourhood Plan (NP) due to the proposed site access.  Whilst the site is allocated for housing within the NP, it is specified that the vehicular access to the site should not be via Low Road. 

Suffolk Coastal Local Plan – SPS has responded to a final consultation on main modifications to the Plan, before its expected adoption in the autumn, raising objections to a site allocation in Grundisburgh.

Other involvements and news:

Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB extension – A proposed extension of the designated area, which was supported by SPS throughout the consultation phases, has been approved by the Secretary of State.

The 38km2 extension includes 2 areas on the Shotley Peninsula as well as an area of North Essex along the River Stour (shown in darker purple).

Map: AONB Partnership

Lowestoft Masterplan adoptedAn ambitious masterplan has been unveiled to regenerate Lowestoft over the next 15 years. This is not just about construction or bringing older buildings back in to use, it is about setting out a clear vision based on market research and what a range of key stakeholders believe will give confidence to businesses, consumers, funders and investors in Lowestoft. SPS had previously shown its support via a consultation on the plan.

BEIS Review of Offshore Energy TransmissionEnergy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has announced the scope of a review into the existing offshore transmission regime to address the barriers it presents to further significant offshore wind schemes. The review will bring together the key stakeholders involved in the timing, siting, design and delivery of offshore wind to consider all aspects of the existing regime and how this influences the design and delivery of transmission infrastructure. SPS with the support of CPRE has been pushing for such a review and this announcement is welcomed. However, the focus primarily is on mid-term projects commencing after 2025 and long-term projects commencing after 2030. Sadly, this will be too late for the live DCO applications in Suffolk focussed at Friston.

Planning outcomes of interest to SPS:

Hoxne – 4 houses – SPS is delighted that this application has been refused on the grounds of harm to the setting of the listed St Edmund’s Monument. We hope that a revised scheme with a more sensitive layout can now be explored.

Lidgate, The Old Rectory – an application for 3 dwellings on glebeland has been refused. SPS had objected to the principle of the development within the conservation area.  As well as the loss of historic glebeland, our concerns related to the impact on the street scene through loss of trees and the setting of the Old Rectory, a non-designated heritage asset as well as a number of nearby listed buildings.

Mendlesham – 20 houses – outline permission has been approved for housing on Chapel Road, contrary to emerging changes to the Neighbourhood Plan.  This is a disappointing decision as the village has identified alternative sites for allocation which are considered more appropriate.

Kersey – 6 dwellings – a long running application for housing behind grade II* listed cottages has been approved.  SPS, along with Historic England, had made a number of representations since the application was submitted in 2015 due to the clear heritage harm to both the setting of the listed cottages and the established character of this part of the conservation area. This was the second time the application had been in front of the committee, due to a legal challenge of the first decision to approve. It is disappointing that despite the Planning Officer’s repeated recommendation to refuse the scheme, the committee judged that the public benefit outweighed the heritage harm.

Bungay – cash machine – SPS is disappointed that the approved location for the cash machine is on the principal elevation of a listed building at the heart of the conservation area. It is regrettable that a less sensitive location could not have been chosen that would have provided this much needed community facility. 

Hitcham – single dwelling in the garden of a listed farmhouse refused. SPS objected on the grounds of the poor relationship of the dwelling to the settlement and argued that it would fail to maintain the prevailing character within the Brett Valley. The application was a delegated decision and refused by officers.


East Anglian Daily Times – SPS Director’s Column, 11 July. Lockdown has helped many of you enjoy Suffolk’s secret heritage

Building Conservation Webinars. Historic England’s Technical Conservation Team has produced a series of webinars which are free to view and provide an in-depth look at a range of technical building conservation topics. They are available to view here.