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

Key involvements this month

Sizewell C SPS made a strong approach to East Suffolk Council before their meeting to discuss the draft relevant representation which summarised their position on Sizewell C.  SPS raised serious concerns that the report did not give adequate weight to the heritage and landscape impacts and the need for a specific compensation fund.  

SPS has submitted its own relevant representation regarding Sizewell C to register as an interested party and summarise our position. 

Changes to the Planning System – government consultation.  SPS has responded to the consultation on planned changes to the planning system, in advance of the comprehensive changes being brought forward via the White Paper. SPS responded to questions regarding the standard method of calculating housing numbers, extension of permission in principle and limiting the size of rural exception sites. 

Assington – SPS has raised concerns regarding the lack of heritage impact assessment accompanying a planning application for a new pre-school nursery on a site outside the village.  The site is close to Assington Church and adjacent to its surrounding parkland. We have called for a full assessment of the impact on the proposal on their setting.

Walberswick – SPS has joined the parish council and PCC in objecting to an application for two detached dwellings within a large garden adjacent to the churchyard of grade 1 listed St Andrew’s Church. The garden contributes both visually and to the sense of peace and tranquility experienced within the churchyard. The two proposed large dwellings include first floor balconies which overlook the churchyard and would result in harm to the setting of the church and character and appearance of the conservation area.

Erwarton HallFurther to the refusal for an application for conversion and redevelopment of the complex of barns adjoining the highly graded Erwarton Hall, with its iconic Tudor brick gatehouse, SPS has strongly objected to the latest scheme which continues to suburbanise this sensitive part of the AONB and cause harm to the setting of highly graded heritage assets. In particular, SPS objected to the substantial extensions and alterations to the simple 19th century agricultural complex and the introduction of a highly damaging access across open fields to address a previous Highways objection.

Erwarton Hall gatehouse showing barns behind. photo:Simon Mortimer

Other involvements and news:

Meeting with the Housing Minister – The Chairman attended a CPRE virtual meeting with Robert Jenrick, Minister for Housing, to discuss the proposed planning reform White paper and submitted a written question about the destructive nature of the proposals. We look forward to receiving an answer to this very pertinent question:

why it was considered necessary or desirable to tear down a system that in material part serves your needs and society’s needs so well, as your paper evidences, and replace it with something wholly undefined and untested.  Can we not build on the best and strive to raise the norm to this level?” 

Suffolk Coastal Local Plan – East Suffolk Council formally adopted a new local plan for the former East Suffolk District area this month.

Sunnica Solar – proposals for a large solar farm which will straddle the Cambridgeshire/ Suffolk boundary are currently under consultation. The new solar energy farm and battery storage facility is proposed to connect to the Burwell National Grid Substation in Cambridgeshire with solar arrays arranged over 4 sites including areas close to Freckenham and Worlington.  If consented this will be the largest solar farm in the country. Information on the scheme can be found here.  SPS will examine the accompanying documentation and respond to the consultation by the 2 December deadline.

Planning outcomes of interest to SPS:

Baylham – an application for 4 dwellings in the countryside within setting of the grade II* church has been dismissed at appeal. SPS had raised a strong objection due to the detrimental impact on the tranquil setting of the church. Despite recent extension of the built-up edge of the village, the proposed houses would be prominent in the panoramic countryside views from the churchyard and in the foreground of extended views of the church from footpaths approaching the village. The local authority’s Heritage Team did not consider the proposals to be harmful and it was therefore particularly pleasing that the Planning Inspector agreed with SPS’s assessment.

Stowupland – officer recommendation to approve an application for 80 houses on a greenfield site which was not included within the adopted neighbourhood plan was followed by the planning referral committee at MSDC. A previous application for 70 houses had been refused by the committee but MSDC officers promoted the latest development citing housing requirements in the emerging Local Plan, which is still at a very early stage. SPS had strongly objected to this approach which it believes does not follow national guidance. 

Raydon – Sulleys Hill – an application for a large contemporary replacement dwelling with the Dedham Vale AONB has been approved.  This was an amended scheme from a previous refused application and SPS was pleased to that some of our previous concerns have been addressed including the colour and materials of the elevations and conditioning any external lighting.


East Anglian Daily Times – SPS Director’s Column, September. Government’s White paper rings alarm bells on many levels.