Proposed Changes to Conservation Areas in Southwold


We would like to hear your views on proposed changes to conservation areas in Southwold. 

Southwold is one of the most important, attractive and well visited towns in East Suffolk and already has a conservation area that includes much of the historic town. No consideration, however, has been given since 2008 to reviewing the conservation area.  

We are proposing six new extensions to the conservation area, and to join Southwold conservation area with the Southwold Harbour part of the Southwold Harbour and Walberswick Quay conservation area. The Walberswick Quay part is proposed to become part of Walberswick conservation area. Please note that these are proposals only and a decision has not already been taken, which is why hearing your views is important. 

Southwold (2)


View the documents and make a comment below. The documents describe the history and architecture and the character of each street and buildings, along with maps and illustrations. 

Please provide feedback by 5pm on Wednesday 15 March 2023

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Your comments will be taken into account before Members of the Cabinet of the Council decide whether to make changes. This will not be before June 2023 when a new post-election Council is formed. 


Living in a conservation area

The effect of living in a Conservation Area on your property will include that:

  • The local planning authority is under a general duty to ensure the preservation and enhancement of Conservation Areas and a particular duty to prepare proposals to that end
  • Planning permission is required for the demolition of any unlisted building in the area; and the local authority or Secretary of State may take enforcement action or institute a criminal prosecution if permission is not obtained
  • Notice must be given to the local authority before works are carried out to trees in the area that are more than 75mm in diameter measured at 1.5 metres above ground level
  • The details of the limits of what works may be carried out without planning permission are different, for example extensions to side elevations, satellite dishes, curtilage buildings, re-cladding, additions or alterations to a roof
  • Extra publicity is given to planning applications affecting Conservation Areas
  • The planning authority is to take into account the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the Conservation Area when determining such applications.

Please note that the Article 4 Directions in place for the existing Conservation Area will remain intact, though these will not apply to the proposed extensions. 

More information can be found on the East Suffolk website

Amalgamation of the Southwold and Southwold Harbour and Walberswick Quay Conservation Areas

Following fieldwork to assess whether the existing conservation areas merit amalgamation and whether such an extension to unite the two would be feasible, we judge that the proposal merits implementation. This is due to the strong historic relationship between Southwold town and the harbour area, both historically and presently. Historically the harbour area was the centre of Southwold’s fishing industry, which lasted well into the twentieth century. Much of the existing development was created to facilitate it, and it continues to define the area’s character. Historically fishermen largely lived in the town but would work from the harbour, creating a strong relationship between the two. Today the harbour caters more to tourism and recreational sailing, though this is still largely in connection to the town. With such a strong relationship, a potential extension between the two conservation areas was evaluated. It was judged that an extension along and to the east of Ferry Road would be appropriate, taking in both the beach and the denes. In light of Southwold’s history as a holiday resort, stretching back to the eighteenth century, with the surrounding landscape forming one of its principle attractions, this extension was judged to be justifiable. The boundary will also been extended slightly along the existing north-east, to incorporate the footpath up to the drainage ditch and make it more coherent.

The southern section of the Southwold Harbour and Walberswick Quay Conservation Area however will not be incorporated within the Southwold Conservation Area. This is due to the distinction between the two shores, which to this day remain separate in character, with the nearest bridge being almost a mile from Walberswick Quay alone. It is proposed therefore that the southern section of the existing conservation area, on to southern shore of the harbour, be amalgamated with the Walberswick Conservation Area. This is due to their close proximity as well as shared character.

Six extensions to the existing Southwold Conservation Area

We judge that the three proposed extensions to the existing Southwold Conservation Area have sufficient merit because:

The Common
This open space, bordered by Godyll Road, was developed around at the turn of the century, featuring a number of high quality late-19th century residences as well as the Grade II Listed Roman Catholic Church. Retained as open space during the town’s development as a resort, it forms a strong link between the town and the surrounding open landscape, therefore contributing to its character and meriting inclusion within the conservation area. It would also allow for a smoother and more coherent conservation area boundary.

Nursemaid’s Park
Similarly to the extension proposed for The Common, Nursemaid’s Park was retained as open space during the town’s development. Its northern boundary contains some high quality villas, constructed during the late-19th and early-20th century, and all identified as positive unlisted buildings. Their setting is greatly defined by the existing open space, which as the name suggests was used by governesses and their charges historically. In addition, it contains a recently constructed memorial to William Godyll, a prominent 15th century merchant in the town. Including Nursemaid’s Park would also allow for a more coherent boundary to the existing conservation area.

Southwold Business Centre
The existing Southwold Business Centre was constructed on the site of the former Suffolk Regimental Drill Hall and parade ground. The drill hall itself remains, erected in the 1930s using an innovative prefabricated ‘Lamella’ roof. The drill hall was intended to form part of the area’s defence in the lead-up to World War II. It is for these reasons it has been judged to merit identification as a positive unlisted building as well as inclusion in the conservation area.

2-8 St Edmunds Road
It is proposed to extend the conservation area to incorporate nos. 2 to 6 St Edmunds Road as positive unlisted buildings. They were constructed in the early-1930s as social housing, reflecting the town’s vigorous approach to improving living conditions in this period. A number of similar dwellings have been identified within the existing conservation area boundary, and it is judged that an extension here is merited as representing the town’s social history.

Town Farm Character Area
This area to the north of Field Stile Road was developed from the 1890s onwards, featuring a number of especially high quality Arts and Crafts dwellings, including several by the London architect Edward Charles Homer. North Road however also contains social housing constructed by the town corporation, reflecting its proactive approach to alleviating social problems in this period. It is for this diversity of structures as well as their reflection on the town’s later development that the extension is proposed.

Northern Extension
It is proposed to extend the conservation to the north to incorporate the North Parade Car Park as well as the adjacent section of beach. This is a sensitive area which affects the setting of the pier, and the extension is intended to provide greater planning control. This area is also within the setting of the positive unlisted buildings proposed for the eastern end of North Road, again allowing for greater planning control. 

Unlisted buildings that make a positive contribution

We have identified buildings within the proposed Conservation Area Amalgamation and proposed extensions that are categorised as ‘unlisted buildings that make a positive contribution’. These are buildings or structures that are not protected by statutory listing but are considered to make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the Conservation Area because of their good quality. Identifying these as positive unlisted buildings means that extra care will be taken when considering development proposals that would affect them. Demolition of a positive unlisted building would be viewed unfavourably. 


  • Opened
    12 Jan 2023 at 09:00
  • Closes
    15 Mar 2023 at 17:00



Contact Details

If you have any questions please contact the Design and Conservation Team: 

Phone: 01394 444610

East Suffolk Council, Design and Conservation Team
Riverside, 4 Canning Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0EQ