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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key involvements this month:
Brantham, 127 dwellings. SPS strongly objected to this scheme which would impact negatively upon the setting of the newly extended Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB by bringing a housing development up to the new boundary. The site is unallocated and will impact upon the setting of Brantham parish church, a grade II* listed building.
Sproughton, 105 dwellings – SPS continues to object to the development of land to the north of Burstall Lane. The site is considerably larger than the 3-hectare portion identified as potentially suitable for up to 75 dwellings in the emerging joint local plan. SPS is concerned that this excessive scale of the built area of the site extends into the current Special Landscape Area, will intrude into the countryside edge of the village and would fundamentally change the character of this part of Sproughton.
Bury St Edmunds, St Andrews St, 9 dwellings – amended scheme. SPS previously objected to the over-elaborate neo-georgian design and proposed materials of a scheme of 9 townhouses within the setting of grade II* listed St Andrews Castle, which is immediately adjacent to the site. This is a brownfield site and presents a rare opportunity to enhance the setting of the Castle and we therefore welcome the much-improved design of the properties and the simplified material palette of the amended scheme.
Felsham, Six Bells Public House, 3 dwellings. SPS has objected to the residential development to the rear of the listed Inn within the conservation area, whilst acknowledging that a previous appeal had established that the site could accommodate two dwellings. We considered that the scale and orientation of the proposed detached dwellings would harm the character of the conservation area and called for a reduced scheme of two dwellings to be pursued.
Hadleigh, 40 High Street, redevelopment. SPS supported the re-use of the highly graded former Barclays Bank to commercial and residential use. However, we objected to the loss of a group of mature trees to the rear of the site to allow for 3 townhouses. The amenity value of the trees make a material contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area and the loss of healthy trees was considered to be unjustified.
Crowfield, 9 lodges – amended scheme. SPS was pleased to support a revised layout on an extant scheme which we had previously objected to on the grounds of harm to the setting of adjacent heritage assets. The revisions provide more screening and are more sensitively sited which will mitigate some of the harmful impacts of the previously approved scheme.
East Anglian Daily Times – SPS Director’s Column, 15 August. The Society has been making a positive impact
Other involvements and news:
SPS has held meetings this month with energy NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) campaign groups SASES, who campaign against the windfarm substation site at Friston, and STOPSZC who campaign against Sizewell C nuclear power station.
The Examination of the windfarm applications is resuming this autumn following a delay due to Covid-19, and the Sizewell C application is currently open to register as an Interested Party.
SPS continues to work closely with all community groups where there is an area of mutual concern.
As part of Heritage Sector Recovery Plan in response to Covid-19 the SPS Director was interviewed and gave evidence to Historic England on the Society’s experience of lockdown and its impacts on the organisation and its work going forward.
Our Chairman attended an inaugural meeting with Simon Murray the new chairman of CPRE, the former Director of the National Trust. In his welcome address he said:
‘I’m looking forward to being part of CPRE the countryside charity’s exciting new journey. Today we need CPRE more than ever. The climate crisis and unprecedented development pressure threaten the spirit and character of our countryside. The coronavirus pandemic has made us realise how essential our countryside and the green spaces near where we live are for our well-being. CPRE’s new strategy recognises that by caring for the countryside, we care for ourselves. We need to raise our collective voice for the countryside and rural communities.’
In August the Planning Reform White Paper was issued. The Society has grave concerns about the implications for community involvement and the ability for local people to influence planning decisions that affect them. SPS is currently forming its response to the consultation on the proposed changes to the planning system. For full coverage of the White Paper see report by the Royal Town Planning Institute here https://www.rtpi.org.uk/policy/2020/august/proposals-for-planning-reform/
Outcomes of interest to SPS:
Woolpit – outline permission has been granted for up to 300 dwellings, a new spine road, land for a new primary school on a site to the north of the village. SPS raised particular heritage concerns about the development of this site including key views of Elmswell church tower and its intervisibility with Woolpit Church. SPS will urge that the final layout of the site respects and where possible retains the setting of these important heritage assets when the reserved matters application is submitted.
Bildeston – single dwelling within conservation area. Permission has unfortunately been granted for this backland development. SPS had submitted a strong objection on the grounds of harm to the setting of adjacent listed buildings and the character and appearance of the conservation area.
Wingfield House, Saxmundham – two dwellings within the curtilage of a listed building – permission granted. Wingfield House, a building at risk for many years, has successfully been restored and brought back into use. SPS had raised concerns that the application was not supported by a Heritage Impact Assessment and the two dwellings would be cramped and erode the remaining garden, causing a low level of harm to the setting of Wingfield House. Officers argued that the public benefits arising from the provision of two new dwellings which would enhance the Conservation Area outweighed the limited heritage harm to the setting of the listed building.