East Suffolk Council - Suffolk Coastal Local Plan (Adopted September 2020)

2 Wider Strategic Planning Area

2.1 Through this Local Plan, the ambition for the area is to significantly boost economic growth, housing delivery and to attract investment, whilst delivering at least 542 homes a year.

2.2 The area covered by the Local Plan is part of a wider area within which there are strong functional economic and housing market relationships. This wider area includes Ipswich Borough and Mid Suffolk and Babergh Districts which also border Ipswich. Evidence produced as part of the production of the Local Plan demonstrates that the area as a whole forms the Ipswich Housing Market Area and the Ipswich Functional Economic Area. The area has strong connections in terms of travel to work patterns and housing and commercial markets.

2.3 The four local planning authorities covering this area, along with Suffolk County Council, have a history of working together on strategic planning issues through the former Ipswich Policy Area Board (now the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area Board). The Board provides a mechanism for the five authorities to develop, promote and deliver a vision for the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area (ISPA) and to co-operate on the preparation and monitoring of Local Plans and to share relevant evidence. This joint working is a fundamental part of planning in the area, and as such is reflected in the East Suffolk Business Plan which sets an action to develop even closer working relationships with other Suffolk Councils on strategic planning and reviewing Local Plans.

2.4 The Councils have worked together on evidence relating to housing and employment needs of all authorities. The former Suffolk Coastal District Council and Ipswich Borough Council also undertook combined evidence relating to Retail and Commercial Leisure needs, Landscape Sensitivity and water resources.

2.5 Under the 2011 Localism Act local planning authorities are required to co-operate on strategic planning matters. The strategic planning matters within the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area cover a range of issues including housing need and distribution, provision of land to support economic growth and delivering green infrastructure. In recognition of these interdependencies, the authorities have closely aligned their timetables for the production of Local Plans. The policies in this Section are based upon the recognised common strategic matters, and establish the Council's commitment to joint working. The five ISPA authorities, in reflection of the National Planning Policy Framework, are working together on the production of a Statement of Common Ground to document the joint working and agreements in relation to strategic matters, which will evolve over the course of production of the Local Plans.

03 Ipswich Housing Market Area

Ipswich Strategic Planning Area (ISPA)

Scale and Location of Growth

2.6 The authorities in the ISPA jointly commissioned the production of a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) in 2016 to identify the objectively assessed housing need (OAN) for the area and to identify the mix and type of housing needed. The SHMA concluded that the area covered by Ipswich Borough, the former Suffolk Coastal District, and Babergh and Mid Suffolk Districts, represents one Housing Market Area (the Ipswich Housing Market Area) (IHMA) based upon the functional relationships between the areas such as being relatively self-contained in terms of travel to work areas.

2.7 The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the standard approach for determining local housing need, with the accompanying Planning Practice Guidance setting out the methodology for calculating this. This involves using the latest published household projections and applying an uplift based upon published ratios of median house prices to median workplace earnings. The 2014-based household projections were published in July 2016 and the latest affordability ratios published in March 2019.

2.8 The housing need figures for the authorities in the ISPA are shown in Table 2.1. The starting point for each authority will be to meet their own housing needs within their own boundary. Reflecting the agreed outcomes in the ISPA Statement of Common Ground (March 2019), where through the plan making process and adoption of a local plan, an authority is unable to meet its own housing need, following a comprehensive re-assessment of deliverability the ISPA Board will provide the forum to collectively consider how need can be met within the ISPA. Where this would necessitate considering spatial and policy options to plan for further growth above that planned for within this Local Plan, a review of the Local Plan would be necessary. Policy SCLP2.1 refers to immediately commencing a review of the Local Plan or the strategic policies. In the context of the production of a Local Plan, the actions related to immediately commencing a review are likely to initially entail a review of the Local Development Scheme, consideration of strategic cross boundary issues and the production and consideration of an updated evidence base.

Table 2.1 - Housing requirement across the ISPA


Standard method annual housing need

Standard method total housing need (2018 - 2036)







Mid Suffolk



Former Suffolk Coastal area






2.9 The authorities also jointly commissioned a Gypsy, Traveller, Travelling Showpeople and Boat Dwellers Accommodation Needs Assessment which identified needs for Gypsy and Traveller provision as follows:

Table 2.2 - Needs for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the IHMA


Needs for permanent Gypsy and Traveller pitches(2016 - 2036)





Mid Suffolk

9 - 30

Former Suffolk Coastal area



52 - 73

5 A pitch is an area on a site developed for a family unit to live.

2.10 The starting point for each authority will be to meet the needs in respect of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation within their own areas.

2.11 The authorities jointly commissioned the production of the Employment Land Needs Assessment, and the subsequent Economic Area Sector Needs Assessment, to identify the needs of the different employment sectors and the associated land requirements. This evidence demonstrates that the area functions as one Functional Economic Area and that there are distinct economic geographies within the area namely:

  • Felixstowe / A14 corridor
  • Wider Ipswich Market Area
  • A140 corridor
  • Rural and agricultural

2.12 The baseline jobs growth and employment land requirements are as follows:

Table 2.3 - Baseline jobs growth and employment land requirements in the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area (ISPA)


Baseline jobs growth


Minimum employment land requirements (B1, B2 and B8 uses) (2018 - 2036)







Mid Suffolk



Former Suffolk Coastal area






2.13 Evidence of needs for retail and commercial leisure has been produced for the former Suffolk Coastal area and Ipswich, and for Babergh and Mid Suffolk. This evidence supports the continuing role of Ipswich as the county town and provides quantitative requirements for convenience shopping and comparison shopping retail over the plan period.

Policy SCLP2.1: Growth in the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area

The local plan area will continue to play a key role in the economic growth of the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area, whilst enhancing quality of life and protecting the high quality environments. Over the period 2018-2036, the Suffolk Coastal Local Plan will contribute to:

  1. The creation of at least 30,320 jobs through the provision of at least 49.8ha of employment land across the Ipswich Functional Economic Area;
  2. The collective delivery of at least 35,334 dwellings across the Ipswich Housing Market Area; and
  3. Supporting the continued role of Ipswich as County Town.

The Council will work actively with the other local planning authorities in the ISPA and with Suffolk County Council to co-ordinate the delivery of development and in monitoring and reviewing evidence as necessary. Should it be determined through the plan making process that another authority within the ISPA is unable to meet its minimum housing need, the Council will, under the duty to cooperate, work collaboratively to determine whether housing development needs that cannot be met wholly within a particular plan area, could be met elsewhere. An agreement to seek to accommodate unmet housing need would trigger an immediate review of the strategic policies of this Plan.



2.14 Within the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area there are aspirations towards the delivery of a number of key infrastructure projects, and in addition, there will be cross-boundary infrastructure that is required as a result of growth planned within Local Plans.

2.15 The provision of new and improved infrastructure is essential to ensure that the growth planned across the area is sustainable. Planning for infrastructure across the area will include schools, sustainable transport measures, improvements to the A12 and A14, improvements to other parts of the road networks and the railways. In addition to infrastructure requirements directly linked to planned growth, there are other cross-boundary projects that would help to grow and improve the economy and quality of life for the area. Development in the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area is predicted to collectively add to significant strain on the transport network in and around Ipswich. Additional highway capacity will not on its own address these issues and the ISPA authorities agree that robust steps must be taken to prioritise healthy and sustainable travel. A package of transport mitigation measures has been identified to reduce vehicle movements. Suffolk County Council as the Highway Authority has developed a strategy which contains a package of mitigation measures to deliver modal shift and mitigate impacts on the wider Ipswich highways network. These include:

  • Transport infrastructure to encourage and support sustainable modes of transport
  • A Bus Quality Partnership
  • A Smarter Choices programme
  • Review of car parking and pricing strategies
  • Review of park and ride strategy
  • Junction improvements

The strategy which has been developed by Suffolk County Council identifies the costs of delivering these measures and apportionments based on impacts related to planned growth within each local planning authority area. East Suffolk Council is committed to working with the other authorities across the ISPA to ensure that there is a co-ordinated approach to funding the mitigation through the delivery of the Local Plan.

2.16 Over the plan period, the Council will continue to work with neighbouring authorities, service providers and statutory bodies to ensure that strategic infrastructure as detailed in Policy SCLP2.2 is delivered in a timely and effective manner through appropriate funding and delivery mechanisms. Providing a range of infrastructure such as education, health and leisure provision will meet the needs of local communities and businesses and further promote sustainable communities across the plan area. The provision of green infrastructure would also be expected to contribute to the delivery of net gains for biodiversity.

Policy SCLP2.2: Strategic Infrastructure Priorities

The Council will work with partners such as the other local planning authorities in the ISPA, Suffolk County Council, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Suffolk Constabulary, utilities companies, Highways England and Network Rail in supporting and enabling the delivery of key strategic infrastructure, and in particular the timely delivery of:

  1. A12 improvements;
  2. A14 improvements;
  3. Sustainable transport measures in Ipswich;
  4. Improved walking and cycle routes;
  5. Increased capacity on railway lines for freight and passenger traffic;
  6. Appropriate education provision to meet needs resulting from growth;
  7. Appropriate health and leisure provision to meet needs resulting from growth;
  8. Appropriate police, community safety and cohesion provision to meet needs resulting from growth;
  9. Provision of green infrastructure and Suitable Alternatives Natural Greenspace;
  10. Improvements to water supply, foul sewerage and sewage treatment capacity; and
  11. Provision of appropriate digital telecommunications to provide mobile, broadband and radio signal for residents and businesses.

 The Council will work with Suffolk County Council and with the other Local Planning Authorities in the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area to support, through a package of funding sources, a range of new and enhanced sustainable transport measures in and around Ipswich.

Protection of the Environment

2.17 Suffolk contains extensive areas of nationally and internationally protected landscapes and habitats. A particular issue is the need to ensure that new development does not result in harm to the integrity of internationally designated Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and Ramsar sites. Strategic projects may require joint working by public bodies to ensure the requirements of the Habitats Directive are met.

2.18 Local authorities in the ISPA have been working collectively on the Recreational Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) to mitigate the pressure caused by new developments on these designated sites. The partnership work, supported by Natural England has established a strategy to mitigate the impacts and is due to be supported by a Supplementary Planning Document that will provide further details in respect of cost implications and subsequent implementation.

2.19 Many of the European designated sites cross administrative boundaries and experience visitor pressure from residents and visitors. The collaborative approach is therefore required to ensure that green infrastructure requirements are considered across the wider area in a consistent manner.

Policy SCLP2.3: Cross-boundary mitigation of effects on Protected Habitats

The Council will continue to work with other authorities to address the requirements of the Recreational Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy and implementation of mitigation measures for the benefit of the European protected sites across the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area.

The Council will continue to work with other authorities over the plan period to ensure that the strategy and mitigation measures are kept under review in partnership with Natural England and other stakeholders.