A new conservation area for Aldeburgh?

SPS has responded to a consultation on expanding the current conservation area at Aldeburgh to the south of the town and also the designation of a new area to be known as the Aldeburgh Park Conservation Area, comprising the verdant western section of Aldeburgh Town. The area is formed by the planned, mid-nineteenth century settlement, spearheaded by Newson Garrett following the expansion of Aldeburgh and its rising popularity and is known as the Garrett Era Area of the town. We are in full support of these proposals particularly after moves to designate the Garrett Era Area were disappointingly stalled a few years ago following a consultation with residents.  We have also urged the local authority to put in place an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for changes which would otherwise be outside the control of the planning authority. Without this, the conservation area designation only provides control over design quality, total demolition and the cutting down of trees.

Garrett Era Area – Image: Place Services

Bury St Edmunds Cornhill redevelopment

SPS has responded to a revised scheme for this prominent site within the conservation area. We fully support the redevelopment of this site for a mix of both residential and commercial uses, but consider that this scheme, while smaller in scale, relies heavily on a pastiche approach which does little to add to the quality of place.. While more respectful of the setting of adjacent listed buildings, the SPS considers that the scheme does not demonstrate sufficiently strong placemaking nor does it enhance this part of the conservation area. The redevelopment of the Cornhill shopping centre was first refused in 2017, against officer recommendation and an appeal was later dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate. We urge the local authority to push for of a scheme for Bury that does justice to its local people and its fine architecture.

Anglia Water pipeline

A planning application for a new 69km pipeline between Bury St Edmunds and Colchester has been submitted by Anglia Water.  SPS recognises the requirement and overriding public benefit of water infrastructure. We have noted however, the potential for the proposed above-ground infrastructure to affect the setting of heritage assets and the removal of hedgerow, some of which may lie within the Dedham Vale AONB.   We have called for no unnecessary loss of protected hedgerows and, wherever possible, for significant ecological or cultural heritage assets to be avoided.

Erwarton Farmyard – refused again

SPS was pleased to learn that the fourth application for the conversion of a model farmyard group to provide 5 dwellings has yet again been refused.  This was a narrow decision of 6 votes to 5 and follows the recommendation of the Planning Officer. This submission was predominantly the same as the previous scheme apart from revisions to the access. SPS has consistently raised concerns about the suburbanising impact of the scheme in this sensitive location within the AONB and adjoining a grade I listed Tudor gatehouse and grade II* Erwarton Hall.

Sunnica solar energy park – Examination

The final Issue Specific Hearings took place on February 16th and 17th. The hearings were an opportunity for the Examining Authority to raise any outstanding questions around environmental impacts of the proposals including landscape and heritage with the Applicant, the local authorities and other represented groups including Say No to Sunnica.  Among the action points following the hearing are a requirement for Sunnica to produce, in conjunction with the relevant local authorities, a schedule of the respective parties’ positions on the landscape and visual impact for each parcel of land under scrutiny across this extensive and fragmented site.  Sunnica are also required to submit plans and details of the crossing points of cable route and access track at The Avenue which is part of the Registered Park and Garden at Chippenham Park. The Examination is due to conclude at the end of March.

Nationally Significant Infrastructure: action plan for reforms to the planning process

The government has published an action plan which sets out the measures it is already taking and the next steps it will take, in a bid to improve how the planning system delivers nationally significant infrastructure. In summary the aim is to make the system better, faster, greener, fairer and more resilient. Above all, the government is concerned that as the number and complexity of cases coming into the NSIP system is increasing, its speed has slowed. However the 5 reform areas which are set out also include the need to set clear strategic direction for infrastructure planning, realising better outcomes for the natural environment and recognising the role of local communities and strengthening engagement.  We hope that a desire to deliver projects quickly does not override these important objectives.

Upcoming event – open to all

Heritage-led regeneration in action

A vintage bus tour and exclusive access to completed projects

Thursday 20 April. 10 am – 2 pm

Join us to discover the fascinating heritage projects underway in Lowestoft’s Heritage Action Zones.

Our day will start at the East Anglian Transport Museum for a talk by HAZ Project Manager Rebecca Styles. We will travel by vintage bus to visit several heritage projects before returning to the museum where lunch will be available to purchase from the cafe.

More details and booking available here.

Note: there will be some walking necessary between sites in the town centre up to 0.6 miles in total.

Media article

East Anglian Daily Times – 16 February 2023 – monthly opinion column:

Finding the right balance between heating and eating

SPS questions the loss of Best and Most Versatile Land to an increasing number of solar farms in the County