Local Plan Examination
The East Suffolk Local Plan sets out proposed Planning Policy for the area until 2036. The Planning Inspector looks likely to accept in principle the final draft Local Plan as presented by East Suffolk Council in March 2019 - subject to the Inspector's suggested modifications and amendments being resolved. The consultation on the Main Modifications to the Suffolk Coastal Local Plan closed 10th July 2020. We submitted our Consultation Response for consideration: Specific comments and General comments
Previously, we objected to those parts of the Local Plan where it contradicts the Martlesham Neighbourhood Plan. In addition to submitting our final stage consultation response in 2020, we attended the Examination Hearings in 2019 to represent the Parish, and submitted written statements and comments to the independent Planning Inspectorate throughout the process. View our 2019 statements to the Examinaton Hearing: Matter 1 and Matter 3. View our earlier written submissions: MPC representations
THE IMPACT OF THE LOCAL PLAN ON MARTLESHAM PARISH
This is of particular significance to the parish because of the inclusion of the Suffolk Police HQ site for 300 dwellings and the 120 dwellings at the Woodbridge Town Football Club site in the north of the parish.
We attended the hearing on various dates between 20 August and 20 September 2019 to follow up our comprehensive written statements submitted prior to the Hearing on procedural matters. These drew the Inspector's attention to the late inclusion of the Police HQ and Woodbridge Town Football Club sites nominated for housing, and the fact that the related policies failed to take in to account the Martlesham Neighbourhood Plan. We drew attention to our earlier 2018 responses and statements to the 2018 version of the draft Local Plan which covered many issues with the proposed planning policy.
In April 2020 Suffolk Constabulary submitted its outline plans for 300 houses, with all matters reserved except for access. We objected to the outline planning permission on the basis that the Application relied on policies contained in the draft Suffolk Local Plan which are not yet planning law. To see our 2020 written response to the Constabulary application for 300 houses, please download our MPC response.
WHY WE OBJECT
Between 20 July and 14 Sept 2018 Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) as it was then (now East Suffolk Council) carried out a public consultation on their draft Local Plan. This draft plan was the culmination of several years’ work by the SCDC planning department. The draft Local Plan aligned closely with the Martlesham Neighbourhood Plan – i.e. it said that there would only be 20 additional housing houses required in this area up to 2036 over and above the 2000 homes already approved for the Brightwell Lakes site next to BT.
As a result your Parish Council was generally satisfied with the first draft Local Plan and responded accordingly. However, towards the end of November 2018, we were informed that two major new sites within the Parish had been added to the draft Plan. Furthermore, policies for these two sites had already been drawn up - we were told that these could not be changed in substance. In our opinion the Local Plan process was flawed as the District Council admitted these two sites at a very late stage contrary to the Martlesham Neighbourhood Plan, and knowing the Neighbourhood Plan was written in reliance on District Council policy to limit housing development to Brightwell Lakes.
Suffolk Constabulary HQ Site - Local Plan Policy SCLP 12.25 (this is within the Neighbourhood Plan area)
IN APRIL 2020 THE SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY SUBMITTED AN OUTLINE PLANNING APPLICATION FOR 300 HOMES INCLUDING 170 FLATS BEFORE THE PLANNING INSPECTOR PUBLISHED HIS FINDINGS ON THE PROPOSED LOCAL PLAN. The planning application is available online at East Suffolk Council: View documents. Please see our 2020 response to that application: MPC response.
Most of you will already be aware that the police announced in mid-2018 (just a matter of a week or two before the Neighbourhood Plan had been formally adopted) their intention to look at the possibility of selling off their site and using the income to move to a new location in more modern buildings which they said would be much cheaper to run. The designs they published at the time were for 250 homes on the site.
We subsequently met the Police & Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, and his consultants on two occasions and we discussed far ranging options for the site including the need for more sports facilities in this area to meet shortages in Martlesham and Kesgrave, the need for downsizing housing (bungalows) for older residents, the need for e.g. a nursing home etc. The Brightwell Lakes plans that we have seen do not mention any facilities for the elderly.
Unknown to us, the police submitted a response to the SCDC consultation on 13 September 2018 (one day before the closing date) formally requesting that their site be included in the Local Plan. We have since then consistently objected to East Suffolk Council including the sites in the Local Plan.
It’s all pretty technical stuff in planning-speak, but the conclusion is the site has been included in the final draft Local Plan in a new policy (SCLP12.25) and the District Council has upped the figure to 300 homes. It talks about “ Delivery of a high quality, high density residential scheme incorporating flats and mix of residences to meet local needs”
View a copy of this policy: can be downloaded SCLP Policy 12.25
It is emphasised that the Parish Council was not consulted at all about the wording of this new policy SCLP12:25 (let alone the general principle of changing its use from employment to housing) or for their interpretation of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Woodbridge Football Club Site - Local Plan Policy SCLP 12.33
(This is not within the Neighbourhood Plan area as Woodbridge Town Council requested it be within their proposed NP area - but as you may know the Woodbridge NP was subsequently abandoned)
The idea of developing this site has been mooted for quite a few years, but nonetheless it was not included in the draft Local Plan.
Unknown to us an agent for Hopkins Homes submitted a response to the 2018 consultation on the closing day which concluded “A policy should be added to the Plan to define Land at and surrounding Woodbridge Town Football Club as a strategic housing allocation for at least 100 dwellings.”
View a copy of the Hopkins Homes submission: ESC Comment ID171
This site has now been included in the Local Plan in a new policy (SCLP12.33) SCDC have upped the figure to approx. 120 homes. It talks about “Provision of a mix of housing including housing suitable to meet the needs of the elderly population and including affordable housing".
View a copy of this policy: SCLP Policy 12.33
It is emphasised that the Parish Council was not consulted at all about the inclusion or wording of this new policy 12:33 let alone the principle of housing in this location.
SIZEWELL C APPLICATION
The final draft Suffolk Coastal Local Plan sets out East Suffolk Council's proposed policy on Sizewell and other Major Energy Infrastructure in some detail. There are Modifications proposed to be made to the Local Plan policy wording which must be agreed with the Local Plan Examiner, but it remains the case that decisions in respect of the new power station will be taken at a national level, with various regulators assessing safety, security and other issues. The Planning Inspectorate has agreed to consider EDF Energy’s application for Sizewell C. The process to decide the Sizewell C application is likely to take 18 months to complete, and should not be confused with the Suffolk Coastal Local Plan examination process. The Sizewell C application documents are available online at the Planning Inspectorate's website View documents. Accessible options for reading the Sizewell C application documentation are also available on request from the EDF Sizewell C team: email@example.com