The SPS team is continuing to scrutinise planning matters across the county as we 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:

Thurston – 3 applications. North of Norton Road – phase 2 & 3 – 104 and 171 dwellings respectively. Barrells Lane – 56 dwellings with 12 almshouses – Thurston continues to be the focus of significant development pressure which is contrary to the “made” Neighbourhood Plan (NP). MSDC officers continue to promote development schemes as part of the emerging Local Plan, which is still at a very early stage. SPS supports the parish who maintain that to approve this latest series of applications, when the Local Plan should carry very limited weight in the planning balance, fundamentally undermines the purpose of the NP. The parish council are currently pursuing a legal challenge on a number of recent planning decisions in Thurston.

Chilton – 190 dwellings and care home  – SPS has objected to outline proposals on agricultural land outside the built-up boundary of Chilton close to the Sudbury health centre.  We considered that heritage harm would result as the site is within the setting of both grade II* listed Chilton Hall and its grade II registered park and garden and the grade I listed St Mary’s church.  The scale of development of the site is contrary to the local plan and will further reduce the separation between Chilton and Sudbury.

Stowupland – 80 dwellings – SPS has objected to this resubmitted scheme on a greenfield site to the north of the village which has previously been refused by MSDC planning committee.  Similarly to Thurston,MSDC officers are promoting development schemes in Stowupland which are contrary to their adopted Neighbourhood Plan citing housing requirements in the emerging Local Plan, which is still at a very early stage.

Wetherden – redevelopment of Wetherden School site – SPS has objected to plans for a 2-storey garage and workshop to the front of the Victorian school building.  Permission has already been obtained for the conversion of the school building to a dwelling with an additional single storey dwelling on the site but we considered that the scale and materials of the proposed garage/workshop would be inappropriate and harm the historic centre of the village.

Hoxne – four dwellings SPS has objected to the reserved matters application for four dwellings which affect the setting of grade II listed St Edward’s Monument. The proposals would serve to materially harm the open and isolated location of the Monument which sits in an open agricultural landscape. SPS has called for the suburbanisation of its setting to be ameliorated by alterations to the scale and layout of the dwellings.

Hitcham – 1 dwelling SPS has objected to the proposed single dwelling in the rear garden of Brick Farm, a grade II listed building on landscape grounds as it fails to relate to the morphology of the village and would appear alien and intrusive within the Brett Valley, which is characterised by its wide and open landscape views.

Layham – Marquis of Cornwallis – extensions – Plans have been submitted to significantly extend the grade II listed inn, additional carparking and landscaping of the grounds to develop the current business into a wedding venue.  SPS did not object to this in principle but raised concerns regarding the landscaping and roofscape of the proposals.

Battisford – Manor Farm, Redevelopment of farmyard group to provide no.7 dwellings. – SPS supports the proposals in principle but has raised concerns that the scheme has been submitted in outline seeking approval merely for the principle of access for the no.7 dwellings. Given the sensitivity of the site within the grounds of an important listed building we have called for matters of appearance, layout and landscaping to form part of the application.

Needham Market – 1 dwelling – SPS has commented on the resubmitted design of a dwelling in the conservation area on a brownfield site.  We do not consider that a mock-georgian appearance of this substantial dwelling on a prominent corner site is appropriate and have urged for an alternative design approach be followed to improve the architectural quality of this part of the conservation area.

Other involvements:

‘My BEIS Inquiry’ – SPS has submitted a proposal to the government’s Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee which is inviting suggestions on issues for the Committee to investigate over the course of this parliament. We have taken this opportunity to raise, at a national level, the current lack of strategic planning of future energy generation and the serious cumulative impacts of all existing and future energy projects on East Suffolk. We have urged that serious consideration is given to methods to coordinate both the construction of sites and supporting infrastructure and the transmission of power.

Sizewell C – as expected, EDF has submitted its Development Consent Order for a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell.  This is despite widespread pressure from local campaign groups, parish councils and SPS to delay the submission given the significant restrictions on community involvement in the process due to current social distancing guidelines.

Outcomes of interest to SPS:

Ipswich – Finbars Woodsingle dwelling in a small piece of woodland in Ipswich, covered by a Tree Preservation Order. The site is valued by the local community for biodiversity and amenity value. Even though the woodland is privately owned and there is not public access, it effectively provides the “backyard” to a number of dwellings in the centre of Ipswich. SPS was asked for support from residents and we submitted a strong but reasoned objection at the eleventh hour. We are delighted that the application has been refused.

Felixstowe Golf Course – Plans to demolish the existing clubhouse and replace with a new building to provide updated facilities as well as 5 residential buildings have been approved. SPS had supported the contemporary design approach to the scheme which lies within the AONB but raised concerns over the residential element and had called for the local authority to take the opportunity to secure funds towards the improvement of the Martello Tower which is owned by the Club and is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register.  Despite a last-minute representation reminding the authority of its statutory duties under S.66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and Historic England’s consultation response, no consideration was given to this by the committee in approving the scheme.  

SnOasis – The long-delayed SnOasis development on a 350-acre former quarry site in Great Blakenham has edged a step closer to construction.   A reserve matters application has been approved by Mid Suffolk District Council’s chief planning officer using emergency delegated powers in place of a full planning committee.


East Anglian Daily TimesBeware developments that try and give the economy a post-lock down boost  – SPS Director’s Column, 16 May.