Key involvements

Framlingham – SPS urges action on 115 College Road

The White Cottage: a rare example of Suffolk weatherboarding

We have supported local campaigners who are trying to save a Non Designated Heritage Asset in the middle of Framlingham Conservation Area. SPS has written to the Head of Planning at East Suffolk Council urging swift enforcement action to safeguard the future of the 18th century weatherboarded cottage, known locally as White Cottage. It continues to decline, notwithstanding consent for conversion and restoration to residential use in 2019. The Council has powers to protect the amenity of land, especially where it is in a conservation area and we have urged the council to use them. We await a response.

Needham Market a 3rd application for Barking Road site –  SPS has again strongly objected to the development of a greenfield site to the west of Needham Market which, due to its rising topography would be particularly prominent on the rural edge of the town. Two previous application for housing on this site have been refused,  it has not been allocated within the emerging Neighbourhood or Local Plans and the most recent application does not address the sustainability, landscape or highway issues previously raised.

Neighbourhood Plans – in December, SPS responded to consultations on draft Neighbourhood Plans for Stutton, Saxmundham and Halesworth. We scrutinise all plans for robust policies to ensure landscape and heritage are given the utmost protection.

Wherstead Park development in historic walled garden – SPS has objected to outline plans to build up to 8 dwellings within the walled garden associated with Wherstead Park as well as commercial units outside the historic garden.  SPS recognises that this is a sustainable location in terms of its access to the strategic road network. In addition, residential development may indeed be an opportunity to establish a long-term sustainable use which safeguards the future conservation of the substantially intact the garden wall. However, we have called for better assessment of the heritage impact of the proposals and for full plans to be drawn up to enable the principle of residential development to be assessed.

Boxted – 19th century bridge under threat – SPS has strongly objected to plans from Essex County Council to replace a bridge across the River Stour at Boxted, on the Essex-Suffolk border. The C19th bridge is a non-designated heritage asset, overlooking a listed Mill House and mill pond, in a tranquil location within the Dedham Vale AONB.  SPS is unconvinced that complete replacement of the bridge, with a larger bridge and carriageway widening, is necessary.  We have called for a more sensitive, conservative approach, given the significant heritage and landscape impacts.

Image: Boxted Parish Council

Aldringham – having been contacted by a number of concerned residents, SPS has raised objections to the scale and design of a proposed replacement dwelling on a site adjacent to fenland within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.  Whilst accepting the principle of the loss of the existing building, which is a much-altered railway cottage, we noted concerns from the RSPB amongst others and have called for improvements to safeguard the special qualities of the AONB.

Of interest

Glemsford – chocolate factory approved. SPS notes the recent decision to approve proposals and welcomes the continued employment use of the old Avent factory site.  We do however continue to have concerns regarding the visual impact that the new processing buildings will have on the wider area.  We note that these issues were accepted but that Babergh planning committee made the decision to grant permission as the considerable economic benefits of the scheme were considered to outweigh the high levels of harm to the landscape and less-than substantial (but not insignificant) heritage impacts identified by the case officers.

Update on other energy Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects – decisions on both Sizewell C and the offshore East Anglia 1(N) and East Anglia 2 windfarms have been pushed back following requests from the respective Inspectors for extensions of time. We expect to hear the recommendations for the windfarms and the associated onshore substations at Friston by the end of March. A decision on Sizewell C is expected by the end of May. In December the Planning Inspectorate accepted the 2800 acre Sunnica solar farm on the Suffolk-Cambridgeshire to go forward to Examination.  The opportunity to register as an Interested Party is open until 17th March.

National Grid Bramford to Twinstead energy transmission upgrade – a statutory consultation now open. A consultation on National Grid’s plans to upgrade the pylon line across the South of the county runs until 21 March.  The plans include a portion of undergrounding through the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley and the replacement of a line of 132kw pylon lines with larger 400kw lines. National Grid are currently running open days and webinar sessions for anyone wanting to find out more about the project.  Details of the proposals and how to respond are available here.

Commercial Solar – An online petition from the Solar Campaign Alliance is currently running calling for the government to produce a regulatory framework for commercial scale farms to avoid losing a critical mass of productive agricultural land to solar. The petition highlights the current policy conflict where Government seeks to protect and enhance our domestic production to maintain food security whilst also encouraging the growth of solar energy production. To add your support following this link.

Media coverage:

East Anglian Daily Times, Director’s column: Time to get planting (26 January 2022)