Suffolk Coastal Local Plan - Final Draft

Final Draft Local Plan

12 Strategy for Woodbridge

Key Statistics for Woodbridge

1. Data sources provided in Appendix I – Glossary and Acronyms [back]

12.322 Woodbridge is the largest market town in the District It has an historic centre sandwiched between the A12 and the Deben Estuary with the built up area of the town extending into the neighbouring parishes of Martlesham and Melton. Both adjoining parishes have prepared Neighbourhood Plans.

12.323 The town is an important retail, leisure, business and employment centre and provides a variety of leisure, medical, education and transport facilities which serve the surrounding rural settlements. The town is also popular with visitors and tourists who wish to experience the historic town, cultural attractions, riverside character and access to the rest of the District. Woodbridge lies adjacent to the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Deben Estuary Special Protection Area.

12.324 Previous Local Plans have identified the A12 as the western limit of the town, beyond which growth would not be supported. This Local Plan seeks to continue that approach until such time as further detail and justification is available for the Ipswich Northern Routes and the situation can be reviewed. Consultation undertaken by Suffolk County Council in January 2017 identified a number of potential routes. These routes may have an impact on the town of Woodbridge and the Council is concerned that any development west of the A12 will blight the choices relating to this significant piece of infrastructure.

12.325 In order to maintain the vitality of Woodbridge, the need to improve links between the different parts of the town, namely the riverside, Thoroughfare and Market Hill will be supported by the Council over the plan period. The riverside and town centre complement one another and serve residents, businesses, visitors and tourists. It is acknowledged that there are issues associated with car parking within the town, and the Council will therefore seek to protect and enhance car parking provision where possible.

12.326 The built up area of Woodbridge is constrained and within the Settlement Boundary, which extends into the Melton Neighbourhood Plan area[2] , limited opportunities are available for new housing provision. In recent years, development opportunities have come forward on previously developed land through conversions and reuse which has maintained a level of housing delivery in the town, or within the parishes of Martlesham and Melton which adjoin Woodbridge which has provided housing opportunities in the area. Further residential opportunities are limited within Woodbridge but are expected to come forward on sites within the Settlement Boundaries over the plan period.

12.327 Woodbridge like many other parts of the District is experiencing an increasingly ageing population alongside higher house prices (when compared to other parts of the District). Any residential development that comes forward over the plan period will be expected to target the ageing population and provide lower cost housing opportunities to meet locally generated needs.

12.328 Encouraging redevelopment opportunities to come forward on sites within the Settlement Boundaries may put non residential uses, such as parks, open spaces and playing fields under pressure for development over the plan period. These areas provide recreational opportunities and promote healthy communities and well being and it is essential these are retained and protected over the plan period. Through redevelopment of sites across the town, the Council will seek opportunities to maintain and further enhance the provision of recreational facilities to support the needs of the existing and future communities.

12.329 In 2006, an Air Quality Management Area was declared which covers 6 properties at the junction of Sun Lane and Melton Hill in Woodbridge as a result of traffic emissions at this junction. Following the declaration of an Air Quality Management Area, the Council is required to produce an Action Plan to provide a framework for identifying and implementing measures to reduce emissions and mitigate the effects of air pollution. The Council works in partnership with Suffolk County Council and landowners to implement the Action Plan which is monitored and reported on annually. The Local Plan acknowledges the Air Quality Management Area and seeks to direct new development away from this area. Where redevelopment opportunities come forward over the plan period, the impact of these on the Air Quality Management Area will need to be considered alongside other material planning considerations.

12.330 The 2001 Local Plan had a number of area specific policies which related to areas of Woodbridge. Over time Woodbridge has evolved and the objectives of the policies are, in some circumstances no longer relevant. However the principles of riverside character which seek to protect the area from inappropriate development whilst seeking opportunities to enhance the character of the area are to be retained within this plan period. Proposals in riverside locations however, need to be balanced against the principles of visitor management of the Deben Estuary, as outlined in the Deben Estuary Plan, and the Suffolk Coastal Recreational Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy. The area between the railway line and the River Deben comprises a number of marine related uses, including boatyards and other marine related businesses, as well as water based recreational facilities. Several policies in the Former 2001 Local Plan (Policies AP245 AP249, AP250 AP252) sought to protect the character of this area as a working riverside environment by only seeking employment and leisure/tourism uses appropriate to the riverside location, as well as protecting more sensitive undeveloped sites from further development. Residential uses in this area are strongly resisted to ensure that employment uses and its tourism and amenity offers are not jeopardised.

12.331 Like many other areas which are popular with visitors and provide a range of services and facilities, Woodbridge at times experiences traffic management issues which were also highlighted in the 2001 Local Plan (Policy AP263). Consultation responses have outlined that traffic management is still an issue which needs to be considered with partner organisations such as Suffolk County Council and Woodbridge Town Council over the plan period.

12.332 Through this Local Plan Review, the District Council proposes to supersede the 'saved' policies from the 2001 Local Plan into a new policy to guide the future development of Woodbridge.

Policy SCLP12.31: Strategy for Woodbridge

The strategy for Woodbridge is to balance opportunities with the acknowledged physical and environmental constraints in order to maintain and enhance its role as a market town, an employment centre and a tourist destination.

Opportunities to enhance the historic environment and the riverside character area of the town will be supported where they bring economic and social benefits which do not have a significant adverse impact on the environmental designations.

Allocations for residential use are identified to facilitate and guide the redevelopment of sites in the town. Additional residential development will be expected to come forward on sites within the Settlement Boundary, consisting of infill or small scale redevelopments which make the most appropriate use of previously developed land.

On land between the railway and the River Deben, proposals for development will only be supported where they are for B1 business use, marine related business or leisure/tourism uses and where they are of a scale appropriate to the character of the area.

The strategy, therefore is to consolidate a town that:

a) Retains the special quality of the built environment including Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings and the character of the riverside and estuary and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB;

b) Retains the A12 as a firm edge to the town;

c) Enhances the links between the town centre and the riverside;

d) Enhances the town centre through the retention of national and independent shopping opportunities;

e) Actively manages traffic and visitors to the town and surrounding areas through the use of appropriate traffic management, suitable car parking and signage;

f) Promotes improvements to air quality; and

g) Supports the further provision of open space and recreational facilities to meet the needs of the town over the plan period.

2. The Melton Neighbourhood Plan area extends into the built up area of Woodbridge and defines the Settlement Boundary for that area. The Martlesham Neighbourhood Plan area excludes the built up area of Woodbridge. [back]

Land at the former Council Offices, Melton Hill

287 Land at the former Council Offices, Melton Hill

12.333 Land at former Council Offices encompasses 1.33ha, and is allocated for the development of approximately 100 dwellings.

12.334 The former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices at Melton Hill are located partly in Woodbridge and partly within Melton parish. The brownfield site is in close proximity to Woodbridge Town Centre. To the south of the site are the rear of properties on Deben Road which are separated from the site by mature hedgerows. To the north of the site is the Grade II Listed Maltings Cottage, separated from the site by mature hedgerows, and to the east is the River Deben which is separated from the site by the railway.

12.335 The site presents an opportunity to re-use a previously developed site to provide a high quality, high density development, providing predominantly smaller dwellings in a flatted scheme. The development could also incorporate community and complementary uses, of a scale that does not have a significant impact on the town centre. Such uses would also provide an element of employment use on the site.

12.336 Reflecting the principles of the National Planning Policy Framework in relation to promoting the efficient use of land, the Council would expect a high density of development on the site. The design of the development will need to be distinctive and innovative whilst appropriate in terms of the proximity to the Grade II Listed Maltings Cottage and Woodbridge Conservation Area as well as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Views through the site to the River Deben are a key part of its current character and should be integral to the design and layout of any scheme. A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment should assess the potential impact upon the AONB.

12.337 The design and layout of the site should focus on pedestrian movements and it is expected that car parking and space for vehicle movements would be less dominant. The eastern part of the site is in Flood Zone 3a and should therefore be retained as open space within the site.

12.338 This site lies in an area of archaeological interest and potential, within the historic core of Melton. The site is close to the foreshore of the Deben, and on historic pasture land with, to the east, potential for underlying flood-zone wetter deposits. There is particular potential for remains relating to historic activity, as well as for organic remains which may have preserved structural remains and environmental indicators relating to the history of the river valley. There are also buildings on the site which may be considered non-designated heritage assets of local interest, and which should be considered in decision making processes.

12.339 The allocation is adjacent to the Deben Estuary. Project level HRA will need to assess disturbance risks (to include recreation, light, noise etc.) through the consideration of up to date ecological and visitor survey data, to demonstrate that adverse effects can be prevented with long term mitigation measures.

12.340 Melton Primary School is forecast to be over capacity during the first five years of the plan period and therefore additional primary school spaces will be required. Farlingaye High School is currently operating overcapacity with no immediate opportunities for expansion. A contribution will, therefore, be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy towards the creation of additional capacity at the proposed school at Brightwell Lakes to increase secondary education capacity in the area.

12.341 Early years provision is forecast to be over capacity in Woodbridge ward and therefore a contribution will be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy towards provision of additional spaces.

12.342 Development proposals should have regard to the findings of the Suffolk Coastal & Ipswich Cross Boundary Water Cycle Study which indicates capacity limitations at Melton Water Recycling Centre. Evidence will be required to demonstrate how capacity will be made available in time to serve the proposed development.

12.343 The Water Cycle Study also identifies this site as being within Flood Zone 1. As the site area is over 1 ha, any proposals for development must be accompanied by a site-specific Flood Risk Assessment.

12.344 The East Suffolk & Ipswich Clinical Commissioning Group have indicated that enhancements may be required at Framfield House Surgery or Little St John Street Surgery to meet the needs arising from new development. A contribution through the Community Infrastructure Levy will be required, as detailed in the Infrastructure Delivery Framework.

12.345 Suffolk County Council have indicated that Foxhall household waste recycling centre is overcapacity and under pressure due to the site size and access from the highway. As a result, a contribution will be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy towards the expansion of the centre as identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Framework.

12.346 Suffolk County Council have provided information relating to library improvements across the District. This site falls within the catchment of Woodbridge library which has been identified as a library where improvements are necessary to enhance provision. A contribution will be required towards the improvement of library provision as identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Framework.

12.347 Greater Anglia have highlighted the need for development proposals to contribute to the accessibility of rail stations and the quality of its ancillary facilities and to enhance the visitor experience. In this respect, a contribution relating to Felixstowe rail station may be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

 

Policy SCLP12.32: Former Council Offices, Melton Hill

1.33ha of land at the Former Council Offices, Melton Hill, is allocated for a residential-led mixed use development of approximately 100 dwellings.

Development will be expected to be of an exemplar, high quality design, and comply with the following criteria:

a) Provision of a mix of units including a predominance of flatted dwellings, including affordable housing on-site;

b) Design, layout and height of buildings to be appropriate to the site's location in proximity to heritage assets and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty;

c) Provision of a high standard of sustainable design;

d) Provision of open space providing opportunities for all ages;

e) A site-specific Flood Risk Assessment will be required;

f) Project level Habitats Regulations Assessment will be required;

g) Evidence is required to demonstrate there is adequate Water Recycling Centre capacity or that capacity can be made available; and

h) Measures to promote non-car modes of travel.

The provision of small scale community and A3 uses will be supported where they do not have a significant impact on the town centre.

Land at Woodbridge Town Football Club

290 Land at Woodbridge Town Football Club

12.348 Development of Land at Woodbridge Town Football Club, which encompasses 4.16ha is expected to provide 120 dwellings including housing for older people and affordable housing, subject to the suitable relocation of the Woodbridge Town Football Club.

12.349 Land at Woodbridge Town Football Club is within Martlesham Parish, but is physically connected to the market town of Woodbridge. The area was excluded from the Martlesham Neighbourhood Plan designated area as it was considered more appropriately designated as part of the Woodbridge Neighbourhood Plan area[3].

12.350 The site is currently occupied by Woodbridge Town Football Club however it is acknowledged that a new location for the football club will need to be identified during the Local Plan period. The allocation of this site is intended to provide a degree of certainty to the football club and the community in identifying options for relocation of the site. Critical to the policy is that the development of the site would only be supported as part of a comprehensive scheme within which the football club is facilitated in relocating to a suitable location within the town, which is accessible by non-car modes of transport.

12.351 The site is located on the urban edge of Woodbridge. It is bounded to the north east by residential development and to the west and south by the A12 and the B1438, and an existing line of trees borders the site where it is adjacent to these roads. The site is in an elevated position adjacent to the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment will therefore need to inform any proposals.

12.352 In order to reflect the location of the site adjacent to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the built part of the development would be expected to be located in the north of the site and to be of a height and layout that respects its position in the landscape.

12.353 Developers will be required to consider local needs and requirements for open space as part of their proposals alongside the nationally published standards of 2.4ha per 1000 population, and will be expected to make provision for people of all ages to be active.

12.354 A project level Habitats Regulations Assessment will need to ensure that hydrological impacts are checked and adequately mitigated for.

12.355 It is expected that the site would be accessed through Fynn Road, and a robust programme of sustainable transport measures would need to support any proposal to seek to mitigate potential impacts on the surrounding road network, in particular considering the presence of the Air Quality Management Area within the town itself.

12.356 This site lies within an area of archaeological potential. Neolithic and Mesolithic finds are recorded from the site. Roman finds are reported to the north and Neolithic pits and Iron Age features have been excavated to the south, and remains have been recorded. However, this site has never been the subject of systematic archaeological investigations and previously unidentified remains may exist on the site which could be damaged or destroyed by development. An archaeological assessment at an appropriate stage in the design of the development will be required to allow for in-situ preservation as necessary. An archaeological assessment at an appropriate stage in the design of the development will be required to allow for in-situ preservation as necessary.

12.357 The Cross Boundary Water Cycle Study for Suffolk Coastal District Council and Ipswich Borough Council identifies this site as being within Flood Zone 1. As the site area is over 1 ha, any proposals for further development must be accompanied by a site-specific Flood Risk Assessment.

12.358 Kyson Primary School is forecast to be over capacity during the first five years of the plan period and therefore a contribution towards additional school spaces will be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy as detailed in the Infrastructure Delivery Framework. Farlingaye High School is currently operating overcapacity with no immediate opportunities for expansion. A contribution will, therefore, be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy towards the creation of additional capacity at the proposed school at Brightwell Lakes to increase secondary education capacity in the area.

12.359 Early years provision is forecast to be over capacity in Woodbridge ward and therefore a contribution will be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy towards provision of additional spaces.

12.360 The East Suffolk & Ipswich Clinical Commissioning Group have indicated that enhancements may be required at Framfield House Surgery to meet the needs arising from new development. A contribution through the Community Infrastructure Levy will be required, as detailed in the Infrastructure Delivery Framework.

12.361 Suffolk County Council have indicated that Foxhall household waste recycling centre is overcapacity and under pressure due to the site size and access from the highway. As a result, a contribution will be requested through the Community Infrastructure Levy towards the expansion of the centre as identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Framework.

12.362 Suffolk County Council have provided information relating to library improvements across the District. This site falls within the catchment of Woodbridge library which has been identified as a library where improvements are necessary to enhance provision. A contribution will be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy towards the improvement of library provision as identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Framework.

12.363 Greater Anglia have highlighted the need for development proposals to contribute to the accessibility of rail stations and the quality of its ancillary facilities and to enhance the visitor experience. In this respect, a contribution relating to Woodbridge rail station may be required through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Policy SCLP12.33: Land at Woodbridge Town Football Club

4.16ha of land at Woodbridge Town Football Club is allocated for housing for approximately 120 dwellings associated with relocation of the football club.

Development will only be supported as part of a proposal which would establish replacement facilities for the football club which provide equivalent or better provision of football club facilities within a location which is accessible to the community by non-car modes of transport.

Development will be expected to comply with the following criteria:

a) Provision of a mix of housing including housing suitable to meet the needs of the elderly population and including affordable housing;

b) Design, layout and height of buildings appropriate to the site's location adjacent to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty;

c) Retention and strengthening of the existing landscaping and trees on the perimeter of the site;

d) Provision of open space providing opportunities for all ages;

e) An archaeological assessment will be required;

f) A site-specific Flood Risk Assessment will be required;

g) A project level Habitats Regulations Assessment will be required;

h) Provision of a robust package of sustainable transport measures which promote connectivity with the town; and

i) Access to be provided via Fynn Road.

3. Note that the Woodbridge Neighbourhood Plan is not being progressed [back]