East Suffolk Council - Waveney Local Plan (Adopted March 2019)

Strategy for Beccles and Worlingham

New homes in Beccles and Worlingham

Total

Homes Built 2014-2017

36

Existing Housing Commitments6

87

Homes allocated in Local Plan expected to be delivered in plan period

1,335

Total Growth 2014-2036

1,458

6 Sites with planning permission or on Local Development Framework allocations which are expected to complete before 2036.

3.1 The strategy for Beccles and Worlingham is to continue to fulfil their role as the second largest built up area in the District. In doing this the Council will seek to retain the individual identities of the two settlements. The growth proposed in this Local Plan over the next 20 years is similar to that experienced by Beccles and Worlingham over the last 20 years. However, this Local Plan seeks to plan for the development in a more strategic way to ensure a greater range of infrastructure and services are provided to support the growth.

3.2 In total land has been allocated in this Local Plan for 1,530 new homes in Beccles and Worlingham of which 1,335 are expected to be completed over the plan period to 2036. Beccles and Worlingham (and Ellough) are expected to take the second largest share of new jobs created over the next 20 years. The Local Plan allocates nearly 20 hectares of new employment land in the area. Although not all of this land is expected to be developed in the plan period, new employment land development will help make Beccles and Worlingham more self-sufficient.

3.3 The Southern Relief Road opens up new opportunities for growth in the town. Not only does it mitigate the traffic impacts of new employment development at Ellough, including the Enterprise Zone, it will also support new residential development to the south of the town.

3.4 The strategy for Beccles and Worlingham takes advantage of the benefits the Southern Relief Road brings by allocating a strategic development between the existing built up area and the road. This development provides a logical extension to the town that can be well planned with significant amounts of green space and supporting infrastructure and should be developed using garden city principles (see section on North Lowestoft Garden Village, Policy WLP2.13). The landscape to the south of the town is of low landscape quality and lower agricultural land grade making it a sensible location in the town to focus growth. The existing southern part of the built up area of Beccles and Worlingham suffers from a lack of services and facilities. The infrastructure provided on the new development will provide significant benefits for those already living in south Beccles and Worlingham.

3.5 For employment growth, this Local Plan maintains the focus on the Ellough industrial area and the Enterprise Zone. It also promotes an additional area of employment land which could be delivered in the shorter term as part of housing development on land allocated by Policy WLP3.1.

3.6 Due to its proximity to the European protected sites, the growth in Beccles will require mitigation and planning applications will require project level Habitat Regulations Assessment. More details are found in Policy WLP8.34.

Infrastructure

3.7 To deliver and support the growth plans outlined within this section the following new and improved infrastructure will be required.

Transport

  • Beccles Southern Relief Road (currently under construction)
  • Access improvements and servicing to the Enterprise Zone at Ellough
  • Cycle link to the Ellough industrial estates over land allocated as the Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood (Policy WLP3.1)
  • Improvements to the cycle network as identified in the Waveney Cycle Strategy

Education

  • New 2 form entry primary school including a pre-school on the Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood (Policy WLP3.1)
  • New pre-school settings on the Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood (Policy WLP3.1) and elsewhere in the town

Health Care

  • Extension/improvements to Beccles Medical Centre

Community Facilities

  • Improvements to library provision
  • New community centre on Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood (Policy WLP3.1)

Green Infrastructure

  • Improvements to Beccles Quay (in Broads Authority area)
  • New country park on Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood (Policy WLP3.1)
  • Improvements to tennis courts and bowling greens
  • New sports facilities on Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood (Policy WLP3.1)
  • New allotments on Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood (Policy WLP3.1)
  • New parks and play spaces on all development allocations

Utilities

  • Localised improvements to the sewerage network
  • Improvements to Beccles Water Recycling Centre to accommodate development post 2030
  • Upgrades to the electricity network to the east of the town to serve new employment

Strategic Site Allocations

 

Figure 12 - Strategic site allocations in Beccles and Worlingham

figure 12

Policy

Location

Allocation

WLP3.1

Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood

Mixed use including residential development, employment development, primary school, country park, sports fields, allotments, play areas, retail and community centre

WLP3.2

Land west of London Road, Beccles

Residential development

WLP3.3

Land south of Benacre Road at Ellough Airfield, Ellough

Employment development

© Crown copyright [and database rights] 2019 OS100042052

Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood

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Mixed use including residential development, primary school, country park, indoor/outdoor sports facilities, allotments, local shops, community centre and employment development

3.8 This site (89.80 hectares) is bordered by Ellough Road to the east, the Beccles Southern Relief Road to the south, M&H Plastics to the west and the built up edge of Beccles and Worlingham to the north. Industrial sites are nearby to the east and southeast. There is a former scrapyard near the centre of the site and woodland on part of the western edge but the majority of the site is in agricultural use. The land is Grade 3 or urban classification agricultural land.

3.9 The large open field making up the eastern part of the site has undergone significant changes over time and lacks any landscape features. The industrial buildings to the east and southeast and the housing to the north break up long views of the site resulting in a low quality landscape. There is potential through the layout of development to create long views across to Beccles Church from the high point on this site. The fields to the west of Oak Lane retain some landscape features such as field boundaries, hedgerows and woodland. The neighbouring M&H Plastics industrial buildings detract from the quality of the landscape in this area. The construction of the Beccles Southern Relief Road will alter the character of the landscape, introducing a harder edge and enclosing the edge of the garden neighbourhood.

3.10 The site presents an opportunity to develop a comprehensive mixed use development including housing, employment land and community facilities such as a primary school, shops, allotments and indoor/outdoor sports facilities. Comprehensive planning of the site will promote contact with nature, healthy lifestyles and wellbeing for all through the delivery of substantial green infrastructure including public open space, a country park and integrated landscaping schemes. The site is allocated for 1,250 homes. It is expected that 1,055 homes will be delivered during this plan period.

3.11 Waveney has an ageing population and the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2017) identified a significant need for new sheltered and extra care housing and new care homes. This large site, which will likely be delivered by a number of developers provides an opportunity to deliver a retirement community comprising a care home and/or a proportion of extra care/sheltered dwellings. These will form part of the total housing allocated on the site. The development should be designed utilising dementia friendly design principles (see Policy WLP8.31 on Lifetime Design).

3.12 Built development on the site should make efficient use of land in order to maximise the land available for open space, community facilities, allotments, playing fields etc. This will contribute to the character of the garden neighbourhood. Housing should therefore be developed at a density of 30 dwellings per hectare.

3.13 The development should utilise garden city principles5. The development of the area should exhibit exceptional urban design. It should score particularly well against Building for Life criteria (see Policy WLP8.29). Developers are encouraged to seek Built for Life Quality Mark for housing development on the site.

3.14 A development of this scale provides the opportunity to deliver a new primary school to serve the new development and existing homes in the area. Community facilities should be provided alongside the primary school including indoor/outdoor sports facilities, a community centre and retail provision to create a community hub. These uses should be co-located in a central position where they are accessible for new and existing residents by sustainable modes of transport.

3.15 Open space, including a country park, should be provided on site. This should include equipped play areas, allotments and amenity green space. Green buffers should be provided around the proposed employment land in the southeast corner and along the western edge of the site near to M&H Plastics. A landscaped strip should be provided along the entire southern edge of the site in order to soften the appearance of the development in the landscape and also to provide a screen between the development and the Southern Relief Road. The layout of green infrastructure on the site should reference existing and historic field boundaries and help create distinct character areas within the development. The site traverses both Beccles and Worlingham parishes. The layout of open space on the site should be used to help protect the separate identities of the existing built up areas. This should involve the provision of an extensive multi-functional country park. The provision of an extensive country park will help mitigate recreational impact on nearby protected habitats.

3.16 A permeable and legible network of roads and pedestrian and cycle paths should be created throughout the site providing pedestrian and cycle links through to the existing built up area. Roads and access points should be designed to encourage people to travel into Beccles westward along the Southern Relief Road and up London Road. This will help reduce traffic on Ellough Road and on to Ingate where there is potential for air quality issues.

3.17 Employment land is needed in the area and 5 hectares of employment land should be provided in the southeast corner of the site, near to the existing employment uses. B1(a) office uses only should take place near the allocated housing land. A landscaped buffer should separate the employment land from housing.

3.18 An outline masterplan has been prepared as shown in Figure 13. Development proposals should be in accordance with a detailed masterplan based on the outline masterplan. Proposals for the development should also be informed by the Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood Masterplan Report (2018). A comprehensive approach to development is essential to the success of this allocation. Preferably the site will come forward through a single, comprehensive outline planning application for the entire site. However, this may not be practical for the landowners concerned. In these circumstances it will be essential that individual planning applications do not threaten a comprehensive approach.

3.19 Planning applications must support the delivery of the community facilities, access and utilities across the entire garden neighbourhood informed by the Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood Masterplan Report. The key areas below are in need of particular consideration:

  • Community facilities. These will include a primary school, employment land, local centre, formal sports and play provision and wider landscape framework. These must be placed in locations and on land that are most advantageous for their requirements and be accessible to both the new community of the Garden Neighbourhood and the existing communities in Beccles and Worlingham.
  • Access. This will include public transport, pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers and other vehicles. Landowners will be expected to enter into a legal agreement with the Local Planning Authority to make provision for connections across boundaries during the implementation process. Planning conditions will require access across development land to adjoining boundaries to achieve integrated and comprehensive development of the new community.
  • Utilities and services. These will include gas, water, foul and surface water drainage, broadband and electricity. Landowners will be expected to enter into an agreement with the Local Planning Authority to make provision for connections across boundaries. Planning conditions will require utility routes and connections across development land to adjoining boundaries.

Figure 13 - Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood outline masterplan

figure 13

All information is copyright protected and may not be used or reproduced without prior permission. Do not scale. © Crown copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100019980 David Lock Associates

3.20 In delivering a comprehensive approach to development based on the outline masterplan it may be necessary for landowners to sign up to land value equalisation agreements. The Council can help facilitate discussions and if necessary secure equalisation through bespoke section 106 planning obligations. The Council will not support any planning application for development which could undermine a comprehensive approach to delivery or frustrates the delivery of any other part of the site.

3.21 A detailed masterplan will be required to be submitted with any planning application for the site. The detailed masterplan should be informed by ongoing engagement with the community.

3.22 Neighbourhood Plans for Beccles, Worlingham and Weston can play a role in shaping the detailed design of development in this area, promoting local distinctiveness.

Policy WLP3.1 - Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood

Land south of the built up areas of Beccles and Worlingham, between Ellough Road and M&H Plastics (89.80 hectares) as identified on the Policies Map is allocated for a comprehensive mixed use development including:

  • Approximately 1,250 new dwellings;
  • Retirement community comprising a care home / nursing home and extra care and/or sheltered dwellings;
  • 2 form entry primary school and a pre-school setting (2.2 hectares);
  • Country park, indoor/outdoor sports facilities, allotments, play areas and public open space (at least 25 hectares);
  • Community Hub comprising a convenience store, local shops, community centre and pre-school setting;
  • Employment development (falling under use classes B1, B2 and B8) (5 hectares).

The site should be developed in accordance with the following site specific criteria:

  • The site will be developed at a density of approximately 30 dwellings per hectare.
  • Vehicular access should be from two points along the Beccles Southern Relief Road.
  • Vehicular access to the employment development should be from Ellough Road.
  • A permeable and legible layout should be prepared. Road layout and access should encourage traffic to travel into Beccles westwards along the Southern Relief Road.
  • Pedestrian and cycle links should be provided to Bluebell Way, Cucumber Lane, Darby Road, Nicholson Drive, Oak Lane, Field View Gardens/Foxglove Close and Cedar Drive.
  • Development proposals must support the delivery of the community facilities, access and utilities across the entire garden neighbourhood informed by the Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood Masterplan Report. Development which would undermine comprehensive development of the site will not be permitted.
  • The primary school and community hub should be located in a central location within the site which has good accessibility from the new community as well as the existing community of south Beccles and Worlingham.
  • Any C2 uses and retirement housing should be provided in a central location on the site, close to the new services and facilities.
  • A cycle path should be provided along the boundary of the site with Ellough Road.
  • A strategic landscaping scheme should preserve existing and historic field boundaries and aid in the creation of distinct character areas within the development.
  • Public rights of way on the site should be preserved and enhanced.
  • Natural features on the site such as ponds, trees and hedgerows should be retained and incorporated into the layout of the development. Views towards Beccles Church should be created through the layout of open space.
  • A landscaped buffer should separate the employment land from housing.
  • A landscaped strip a minimum of 10 metres wide should be provided along the southern edge of the site.
  • The woodland by the western edge of the site should be retained and enhanced.
  • A Transport Assessment and Travel Plan should be submitted with any planning application.
  • Any planning application is to be supported by the results of a programme of archaeological evaluation, including appropriate fieldwork, and should demonstrate the impacts of development on archaeological remains and proposals for managing those impacts.

On-site infrastructure, including the primary school and pre-school provision, community centre, cycle link along Ellough Road, sports fields and open space will be secured and funded through Section 106 planning obligations. More detail is in Appendix 1.

A detailed masterplan for the whole site, based on the outline masterplan in Figure 13, and informed by the Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood Masterplan Report and by ongoing engagement with the community should be prepared and submitted as part of any planning application.

Land West of London Road, Beccles

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Residential development

3.23 This site (10.99 hectares) lies to the southwest of Beccles. A petrol station occupies part of the site in the northeast corner. The remainder is in agricultural use. London Road (A145) forms much of the eastern boundary and provides vehicular and pedestrian access. A cycle path, the cemetery and houses adjoin the site to the north. Part of the cemetery is in the Beccles Conservation Area. The built up area of Beccles lies opposite the site to the east. To the west lies open countryside with scattered housing. Open countryside and the railway line lie to the south.

3.24 The site has good access to existing services, facilities, schools and employment opportunities in Beccles and the surrounding area via footpath, public transport, cycle and road links. The site offers moderate landscape value but is considered to be reasonably well contained in the landscape. Landscaping around the edges of the site would help to integrate development into its surroundings. Redevelopment of the petrol station site can offer enhancements to the street scene and the setting of the conservation area and development should aim to maximise these benefits.

3.25 The site is not within the catchment of any local equipped children's play space. Therefore, the development should include the provision of a local equipped area for play, approximately 0.4 hectares in size.

3.26 There are existing hedgerows and trees on the site which should be retained and incorporated into the layout of the development except where they need to be removed to allow for access.

3.27 The site has a medium to high potential for archaeology and any planning application must be supported by the results of a programme of archaeological evaluation, including appropriate fieldwork, and should demonstrate the impacts of development on archaeological remains and proposals for managing those impacts.

3.28 The petrol station use will require remediation work to make the site safe for residential use. A site investigation report should be submitted with any planning application which includes reports on intrusive surveys, a risk assessment and remediation method statement.

3.29 The level of new development within Beccles and Worlingham is likely to generate a need for 3 new pre-school settings. The Beccles and Worlingham Garden Neighbourhood site (Policy WLP31.) will provide 2 of these settings. The preference for the third is at Beccles Primary Academy or alternatively in a location close to other services and facilities. However, if there is no suitable, available site at the time of a planning application, and there is still a need for a setting, it may be necessary for a new setting to be included on this site. A new setting will require 0.09 hectares of land and therefore should not impact upon the amount of development achievable on the site.

Policy WLP3.2 - Land West of London Road, Beccles

Land at London Road, Beccles (10.99 hectares) as identified on the Policies Map is allocated for a residential development of approximately 280 dwellings.

The site should be developed in accordance with the following site specific criteria:

    • The site should be developed at a density of approximately 30 dwellings per hectare.
    • A play space equivalent to a local equipped area for play of approximately 0.4 hectares in size should be provided.
    • Vehicular access should be off London Road.
    • Pedestrian and cycle connections should be provided to the foot and cycle path to the north of the site.
    • A landscaped buffer of a minimum of 10 metres in width should be provided on the south and west boundaries.
    • Natural features on the site such as the pond, trees and hedgerows should be retained and incorporated into the layout of the development.
    • A Transport Assessment and Travel Plan should be submitted with any planning application.
    • Any planning application is to be supported by the results of a programme of archaeological evaluation, including appropriate fieldwork, and should demonstrate the impacts of development on archaeological remains and proposals for managing those impacts.
    • A site investigation report assessing the risk of ground contamination should be submitted with any planning application.
    • If needed at the time of the planning application, 0.09 hectares of land on the site should be reserved for a new pre-school setting. The pre-school setting will be secured by and funded through a Section 106 planning obligation.

Land South of Benacre Road at Ellough Airfield, Ellough

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Employment development

3.30 The site (13.40 hectares) sits south of Benacre Road on part of the former Ellough Airfield. It is surrounded by existing employment uses. The site is currently used for agriculture.

3.31 The site forms part of the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone and was originally allocated in the Site Specific Allocations Development Plan Document (2011). The area is flat and has a very low landscape quality with few natural features and many landscape detractors in the vicinity. Further employment development on this site would relate well to the existing employment uses on the surrounding industrial estates. Development of the site will benefit from the Beccles Southern Relief Road which is currently under construction.

3.32 This site allocation is very large and considering the overall need for employment land it is unlikely that much of this site will be developed within the plan period to 2036. Furthermore, there are constraints to electricity supply which limit the potential for development in the Ellough area. This means it is unlikely that development will be viable or feasible on this site in the early parts of the plan period. However, given the nature of the site and to give flexibility to what parts of the site could come forward, it is considered appropriate to continue to allocate the entire Enterprise Zone area to provide a longer term option for employment development to support Beccles and Worlingham. Furthermore, the land has limited potential for any other uses except for its existing agricultural use.

3.33 Although the site has a low landscape quality, there will still be a need for landscaping on the site to help enhance the landscape of the area and screen the development to avoid an exposed edge.

3.34 There is a small overgrown area with some mature trees to the north of the site. This should be retained as part of any development and made a feature of as an open space for local employees to enjoy.

3.35 There is potential for archaeology to be found on the site and any planning application will be subject to a condition requiring a programme of archaeological work.

3.36 As a former air field there is potential for contamination. Planning applications should be accompanied by a contamination assessment to address this risk.

3.37 There are public rights of way which follow the eastern and southern perimeter of the site. These should be retained and the development should provide links into them.

Policy WLP3.3 - Land South of Benacre Road at Ellough Airfield, Ellough

Land south of Benacre Road, Ellough (13.40 hectares) as identified on the Policies Map is allocated for employment development (falling under use classes B1, B2 and B8).

The site should be developed in accordance with the following site specific criteria:

    • Landscaping should be provided to the west and south of the site.
    • The small overgrown area to the north of the site should be retained as part of any development and made a feature of as an open space for local employees to enjoy.
    • The surrounding public rights of way should be protected with linkages enhanced as appropriate.
    • A Transport Assessment and Travel Plan should be submitted with any planning application.
    • A planning condition relating to archaeological investigation will be attached to any planning permission.
    • Any planning application on the site should be accompanied by a contamination assessment.