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

Strategy for Southwold and Reydon

New homes in Southwold and Reydon

Total

Homes Built 2014-2017

25

Existing Housing Commitments9

142

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

220

Total Growth 2014-2036

387

9 Sites with planning permission which are expected to complete before 2036. This figure includes a proposal to develop 69 homes at St Georges Field on the St. Felix School site. This proposal has a resolution to grant planning permission subject to a section 106 agreement.

6.1 The main strategy for Southwold and Reydon is to allocate more housing to increase the range of affordable homes in the area whilst protecting the sensitive built, historic and natural environment. Currently more people work in the area than live in the area and there is a significant amount of in commuting in to Southwold from outside of the Southwold and Reydon area. More homes in the Southwold and Reydon area, particularly affordable homes, will allow people who work in the area to live in the area.

6.2 There is limited scope within Southwold itself to accommodate new housing. Therefore, the focus for housing is in Reydon. Like Southwold, Reydon has limited scope to expand as it is within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However, the site allocated by Policy WLP6.1 does not extend development further into the countryside to the west than existing development to the north and south and therefore represents an opportunity to deliver a significant number of homes to support Southwold and Reydon with a more limited impact on the landscape than other potential options for growth.

6.3 Easton Bavents, which is within the parish of Reydon, is under threat from coastal change. Since 2011 three properties have already been lost to erosion and a further three are at risk within the next 20 years. A further property could also be at risk within that timeframe. The three properties already lost were not able to relocate under the provisions of Policy DM22 of the Development Management Policies Development Plan Document (2011). The Council issued these properties with a letter of legitimate expectation which states that if they were to apply for planning permission for a relocated property they would be treated in the same way as if their property still existed. Policy WLP8.26 of this Local Plan continues the approach of Policy DM22. However, relocation has proved difficult, with residents, with the support of the Council struggling to find suitable, affordable land to relocate the properties to. Allocating additional land for development in the Southwold and Reydon area offers the opportunity to secure plots for relocation. Policy WLP6.1 allocates land for 220 homes of which 7 plots should be reserved for relocation.

6.4 Southwold Harbour is a unique conservation area which needs careful management. The Local Plan for Waveney has for many years contained a specific policy for the management of the Harbour, and this Local Plan rolls that approach forward.

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

Infrastructure

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

Transport

  • Improvements to the cycle network as identified in the Waveney Cycle Strategy
  • Improvements to The Crescents and Wangford Road - details to be defined through a Transport Assessment

Community Facilities

  • Improvements to library provision

Health Care

  • Extension/improvements to Sole Bay Health Centre

Green Infrastructure

  • New play areas on Land west of Copperwheat Avenue, Reydon (Policy WLP6.1)
  • Improvements to Old Reydon High School Playing Fields
  • 2 additional wickets on Southwold Common

Utilities

  • Localised improvements to the sewerage network

 

Strategic Site Allocations

Figure 18 - Strategic site allocations in Southwold and Reydon

figure 18

Policy

Location

Allocation

WLP6.1

Land west of Copperwheat Avenue, Reydon

Residential development

© Crown copyright [and database rights] 2019 OS100042052

Land West of Copperwheat Avenue, Reydon

View the location of this site on the map of planning policies


Residential development

6.7 The site (9.8 hectares) is located on the western edge of Reydon, between Keens Lane to the south and Copperwheat Avenue to the north east.

6.8 Reydon is within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, therefore, all of the landscape surrounding the settlement is of value and is of some sensitivity to development. This site, however, will not encroach further in to the countryside to the west than what is already established by development to the north and south. Therefore, out of all of the potential options for development in the Southwold and Reydon area, this site is likely to have the least impact on the landscape and the natural beauty and special qualities of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site is also located within convenient cycling and walking distance of services, shops and facilities in both Reydon and Southwold. To assist in integrating the development of this site into the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, regard should be had towards the most current Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan at the time a planning application is submitted.

6.9 There is a high number second homes within Southwold and Reydon. One of the key objectives behind this allocation is to increase the provision of housing and in particular affordable housing to allow more people who work in the area to live in the area. Therefore, the housing mix on this site should have particular regard to the requirements of Policy WLP8.1 on Housing Mix and ensure the mix is tailored to meet local needs. In doing this regard should be had to the Strategic Housing Market Assessment together with any relevant local evidence available at the time of the application.

6.10 This large allocation provides a unique opportunity to secure land for the relocation of properties at risk (or already lost) from coastal erosion to a sustainable location. 7 plots (equal to those which have been lost since 2011) should be set aside for relocation. Owners of properties at risk from erosion are not obliged to take on these plots, they can use the benefits offered by Policy WLP8.26 to relocate elsewhere. If plots are not taken up after a period of five years following the completion of the development the plots can be made available for the provision of affordable housing.

6.11 The impact on the landscape will need to be carefully considered in drawing up plans for the site. Given the sensitivity of the landscape, sufficient landscaping will be required in and around the site to help it integrate with the landscape and create an acceptable settlement edge. Therefore a lower density development of 25 dwellings per hectare which allows for landscaping and more spacing between detached buildings is considered appropriate. The objectives and considerations of the Waveney District Landscape Character Assessment (2008) and the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Settlement Fringe Landscape Sensitivity Study (2016) should be considered with any planning application. A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment which should inform a landscaping scheme must also be provided with any planning application.

6.12 The site is surrounded by mature trees and hedgerows, particularly along its southern edge, many of which are protected. Development proposals should retain existing trees and hedgerows both within and bordering the site, particularly along its southern and eastern boundaries. Where possible, development should enhance and strengthen local networks of trees and hedges, which will protect the landscape and local wildlife habitats.

6.13 The site is accessed from Copperwheat Avenue and The Crescents. Suffolk County Council as the Highway Authority have identified a need for improvements to The Crescents as well as a pedestrian crossing of Wangford Road.

6.14 To the south west of the site is Gorse Lodge which is a Grade II listed building. The design of the development will need to respect the setting of this listed building as much as is practical.

6.15 The south west of Reydon suffers from a lack of open space and children's play areas. The site's location means that residential development would be outside of the catchment for local play spaces and open space. It is therefore important that residential development includes provision of an open space, which includes a neighbourhood equipped area for play. The space should be approximately 0.8 hectares in size and designed and located so as to be overlooked by surrounding properties to provide natural surveillance and be well landscaped to create an attractive space. The space should form an extension to the Barn Close play space which is currently not very well overlooked. A further smaller space of approximately 400sqm equivalent to a local area for play should be provided to the south of the site.

6.16 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.

6.17 The site is within a Minerals Consultation Area and Minerals Safeguarding Area as defined by Suffolk County Council as the Minerals Planning Authority. As such the County Council will need to be consulted on the planning application. Therefore, any planning application should be supported by evidence which assesses the quality and quantity of sand and gravel resources on site in order to help judge whether on-site resources should be used on-site during development. This may help reduce the amount of material transported on and off the site. In judging the appropriateness of use of resources on site, the potential additional impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be considered.

Policy WLP6.1 - Land West of Copperwheat Avenue, Reydon

Land to the west of Copperwheat Avenue, Reydon (9.8 hectares) as identified on the Policies Map is allocated for a residential development of approximately 220 dwellings.

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

    • The site should be developed at a density of approximately 25 dwellings per hectare.
    • Development should provide a mix of new housing in line with Policy WLP8.1 which is tailored to meet local needs.
    • Development should respect the character of the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and have regard to the most current Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan. This includes planting trees and hedges to the west of the site and limiting the height of new dwellings to no more than two storeys.
    • A landscaping scheme, informed by the Waveney District Landscape Character Assessment (2008), Great Yarmouth and Waveney Settlement Fringe Landscape Sensitivity Study (2016) and a completed Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, should be prepared to integrate the site within the landscape.
    • Development should retain existing trees and hedgerows that line the edge of the site.
    • Development should limit the impact upon the setting of Gorse Lodge, which is a Grade II listed building.
    • Development should include the provision of an open space of 0.8 hectares which includes a neighbourhood equipped area for play. The site should be located to act as an extension to the play space located off Barn Close. A smaller play space of 400sqm should be located to the south of the site.
    • Development should retain existing public rights of way that border the site to the south and west.
    • A Transport Assessment and Travel Plan should be submitted with any planning application.
    • Development will include improvements to The Crescents as well as a pedestrian crossing of Wangford Road to be defined through a Transport Assessment.
    • 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 completed ecological assessment undertaken by a suitably qualified person will be required as part of any planning application.
    • Any planning application should be supported by evidence which assesses the quantity and quality of sand and gravel resources within the site in order to determine whether it is practical to make use of resources on site, in accordance with the Suffolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
    • 7 plots should be made available on the site for the relocation of properties under threat from coastal erosion. Development on these plots will only be permitted if:
      • The development replaces a permanent residential building which is affected by erosion within 20 years of the date of the planning application; and
      • The existing site is either cleared and made safe or put to a temporary use beneficial to the local community; or
      • The development is for affordable housing if the plot has not been used for the replacement of a dwelling at risk from erosion within a period of 5 years from the completion of the rest of the development.

Southwold Harbour

View the location of this area on the map of planning policies


6.18 Southwold Harbour lies at the mouth of the River Blyth with Walberswick on its southern side. The informal character of the harbour area contrasts with the ordered neatness of Southwold itself, but both epitomise this part of the Suffolk Heritage Coast and justify their location within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Harbour Conservation Area.

6.19 Blackshore Road, currently classified as a Restricted Byway, provides access to the northern shore of the River Blyth. The road is constantly being damaged by flooding and the increasing level of commercial and visitor traffic. The state of the roadway acts as a constraint to development and contributes to the character of the area.

6.20 The traditional fixed landing stages are part of the heritage of Southwold Harbour and make a significant contribution to its character. Since the area is now full, and due to the size of the harbour and the sensitivity of the landscape, further moorings will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. This could be where existing moorings become permanently inaccessible due to flooding or as a result of alterations or repairs to the sea walls.

6.21 The fisherman's stages are of particular note. In the interests of preserving and enhancing the traditional character of the Harbour Conservation Area, as far as possible fishermen's stages should be maintained and repaired to a standard that will preserve and prolong the life of these important structures. When the need for replacement occurs, fixed landing stages should be used. Carefully designed pontoons reflecting the traditional materials and design of the fishermen's landing stages would also be acceptable. The replacement of landing stages and extensions to them require planning permission as well as a Marine Licence from the Marine Management Organisation. Work in, under, over or within 8 metres of any fluvial main river, flood defence structure or culvert and within 16m of any tidal main river, flood defence structure or culvert may require an environmental permit for flood risk activities under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2016. A permit for works on the floodplain beyond these distances may also be needed if the work is likely to divert or obstruct floodwaters, damage any river control works or affect drainage.

6.22 Most of the buildings along the road between Blackshore and Ferry Road are needed by the people who work in the area for storage of equipment and boat repairs. The quality of buildings in the area is not high, but being mostly of timber construction they are part of the character of the area. The quality of the surrounding landscape has to be balanced against the needs of a working harbour and flooding implications. Any further buildings in the harbour area are likely to detract from its character and consequently be detrimental to the landscape and setting. Replacement huts should be similar to the existing huts, to prevent any adverse impact on the landscape and to retain the character of the harbour.

6.23 The entire harbour area is within Flood Zone 3b, the functional flood plain. The National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance restricts development in these locations to only water compatible development and essential infrastructure. Examples of water compatible uses include docks, marinas and wharves, ship building and repairing and dockside fish processing. Therefore national planning policy would not permit changes of use of the fishing huts to uses that are non-water compatible.

Policy WLP6.2 - Southwold Harbour

Southwold Harbour is identified on the Policies Map.

Proposals for replacement and/or extensions to existing landing stages or pontoons will be permitted, provided that there is no detrimental visual impact on the harbour, the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Southwold Harbour Conservation Area and no impact for navigation within the harbour waters. Additional moorings will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances.

Proposals for replacement huts and other buildings on either side of Southwold Harbour will only be permitted where the existing structure is beyond repair and the appearance of the replacement is closely related to the size, shape, design and materials used on the existing hut. Proposals for additional buildings at Southwold Harbour will not be permitted.

In some circumstances extensions to water compatible and essential infrastructure land uses in the harbour will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that it:

    • Will not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere;
    • That it will not affect the structural integrity of a flood defence; and
    • That it is needed for the applicant's employment at the harbour and such development cannot be accommodated elsewhere.