Planning Policy

West Suffolk Local Plan – Preferred Options consultation. SPS has responded to a number of policies in the latest round of consultation for the emerging local plan. In particular we have called for greater weight to be given to the protection of the historic built environment in the Part 1 Strategic Polices.  We have also welcomed the proposed designation of 8 Local Valued Landscapes including the Upper Stour Valley, South Brecks, Lakenheath Fen, Glem Valley and Kennett Valley.


Hartest proposal for 3 dwellings –  SPS has objected to an application outside the village of Hartest on the grounds that the scheme fails to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, or the wider setting of adjacent listed buildings. We also consider it would result in harm to the special qualities of the landscape character of the village. The design of the bungalows, cul de sac layout and highly engineered access to the development which is on land significantly higher than the road would cumulatively result in an incongruous development that would detract from the character and appearance of the area.

Commercial solar

A solar farm at Palgrave – SPS has raised serious concerns reading the latest in a number of applications for commercial solar farms in the county. The scale of this 220 acre scheme will seriously impact the landscape to the west of Palgrave. We have urged for greater set back of the panels from the road and the village at a number of locations.  We have also questioned whether a full assessment of the impacts on all nearby listed buildings has been carried out.

East Suffolk Design Champion

SPS director met with the newly appointed East Suffolk Council Design Champion, Chris King, who will lead the specialist team of heritage and landscape professionals with a brief which includes improving design awareness and raising standards of design. Having previously worked as an urban designer at Essex Place Services, he brings with him a wealth of specialist design and place making expertise. We very much look forward to working closely with Chris on areas of shared interest.

Bury St Edmunds Cornhill redevelopment

Some may recall the long running case of the redevelopment of the Cornhill shopping centre which was refused in 2017, against officer recommendations on the grounds of heritage harm which was in accordance with SPS and Bury Society’s strong objections. This decision was appealed but later dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.

The developers of this site have now revised the scheme, significantly reducing the scale of the development and amending the detailed design.  SPS officers have met with the developer to review the preliminary scheme and to offer comments on the revised proposals.  

Planning outcome

Babergh refuses Boxford application on third time of asking

On July 26 the Babergh planning committee refused a speculative application for 64 dwellings on a greenfield site on the edge of Boxford on the grounds of highway safety.  Following a refusal of an application for 80 houses, a revised application for 64 was approved in 2019.   However, this decision was successfully challenged at judicial review by Boxford Parish Council.  The district authority commissioned an independent review into highway issues which clearly recommended refusal, despite Suffolk Highways having no objection, leading to the refusal of the application.  SPS welcomed the decision as we consider the scheme would harm the character of the historic core of the village through extra traffic movements and the urbanising effect of the proposed alterations to the highway.

Swan Street in Boxford

Energy updates

Government approves DCO application for Sizewell C

SPS was extremely disappointed by the announcement on 20 July 2022. This decision will have enormous impacts for the landscape, heritage and communities of east Suffolk and goes against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate which raised its concerns in February over the supply of water and habitat impacts. We extend our sincere regret to all those affected by this decision and offer our continuing support to both the communities that will be severely impacted, throughout both the build and operational phases, and to the local campaign groups who continue to run such compelling and powerful campaigns.

Sunnica solar energy park – DCO hearings postponed

The first issue specific hearing and open floor hearings due to take place at the end of July were postponed.  Following a procedural hearing on 27 July, a revised timetable for the examination will be produced by the Examiners. SPS understands that this is due to the Applicant requiring changes to the application but not entering a formal change request by the agreed deadline.  It is hoped that the revised timetable will allow all interested parties sufficient time to effectively consider and respond to the changes to the application.

SPS Events

This month SPS organised a Walk and Talk at Tendring Park, Stoke by Nayland. Attendees learned about the history of Tendring Hall, Soane’s first country house, and also the programme of restoration of the surviving Repton landscape parkland and its buildings. The walk also included an opportunity to view the hedgerow restoration scheme, as part of the Stour Valley Farmer Cluster Hedgerow Heroes Project – for which SPS secured the funding. SPS is grateful to Emily Holden, her son Hubert, and Robert Townshend who expertly lead the tour of their ancestral home.

SPS also hosted a free online webinar on Net Zero in new buildings on July 5th. The speakers were Simon Sturgis AADip RIBA: Co-Author of RICS and RIBA guidance on Whole Life Carbon, Co-Author of Greater London Authority Policy Guidance on WLC, and Special Advisor to the Environmental Audit Select Committee; Dr Joe Jack Williams MEng MRes EngD: Associate at FCBStudios and lead developer of FCBSCarbon the carbon assessment tool; and Jess Hrivnak: RIBA’s Sustainable Development Advisor.

Details on how to access a recording of the webinar are available on our events page.

Upcoming event:


Join us for a Saturday afternoon at the evocative Bawdsey Manor to hear Jules Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex, and Director of the Centre for Public and Policy Engagement talk about his latest book about refugees who fled Doggerland when the seas encroached.

The talk will be followed by a guided tour of the gardens laid out by Sir William Cuthbert Quilter and a rare opportunity to view some of the principal rooms in the Manor, including the Billiard Room where Sir Winston Churchill played when he visited RAF Bawdsey during the Second World War. All welcome – more details and booking available here.


East Anglian Daily Times – 6 July

Article highlighting new SPS Trustees joining the Board including Rachel Bunn, Assistant Principal for apprenticeships and employer engagement at East Coast College.