West Suffolk Local Plan: Third and final round of consultation opens on plan for development up to 2040
A final consultation on the West Suffolk Local Plan, which will guide how and where new homes are built and allocate land for employment growth up to 2040, has opened.
Hundreds of comments, evidence and feedback have helped to shape the draft plan, following previous consultations in 2020 and 2022.
Now, a third consultation has begun, ahead of the plan being submitted to the Secretary of State. The Government will then appoint a planning inspector to hold an examination in public.
Cllr Jim Thorndyke, West Suffolk cabinet member for planning, said: “Through this local plan we are looking to ensure the supply of good quality housing for our growing communities.”
The latest draft plan seeks to ensure the delivery of at least 13,702 new homes to meet housing needs across the district.
It allocates sites for 5,211 new homes alongside 9,075 homes that already have planning permission. It also allows for windfall allowance of 1,200 homes to allow for flexibility.
The plan also makes provision for 86 hectares of employment growth.
As well as allocating sites, the local plan includes policies to boost the delivery of affordable housing, with a requirement for 40 per cent of homes on greenfield sites to be for affordable housing.
It aims to make new homes more sustainable, through measures including solar panels on roofs, where possible.
The latest local plan draft also recognises the need to design places to encourage health and wellbeing and for more homes to be adaptable to people’s changing needs, particularly as people get older.
This could help people to carry on living at home for longer, preventing or delaying them having to go into care.
Space standards are also introduced for rooms and gardens for new houses, as well as access to open space for people living in flats.
When it is adopted, the local plan will be used to decide planning applications.
With or without a local plan, development will still happen, but by allocating the land for housing and employment the local plan protects other areas from harmful, speculative development and ensures residents and elected councillors continue to have a say on planning applications.
By having a local plan, the council will also be able to ensure funding is secured to pay for infrastructure such as education, highways, footpaths and cycleways.
Cllr Cliff Waterman, West Suffolk Council leader, said: “This is our third and final consultation in the preparation of this local plan.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to get involved in this so far. I would encourage people to visit our virtual village hall and view the plan for themselves.”
The submission draft consultation will run to March 12. People can view the latest draft and give their feedback at https://westsuffolk.exhibition.app/
The council will also have four drop-in events where people can find out more about the latest draft of the plan and how they can give their feedback. These take place between 10am and 3pm at:
Friday, The Studio, Haverhill Arts Centre, High Street, Haverhill
February 7, upper floor lounge at The Apex, Charter Square, Bury St Edmunds
February 10, conference room at Mildenhall Hub, Sheldrick Way, Mildenhall
February 17, main hall at King Edward VII Memorial Hall, High Street, Newmarket
Anyone who cannot make the events can email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01284 757368.