Suffolk Coastal Local Plan - Final Draft

Final Draft Local Plan

2 Wider Strategic Planning Area

2.1 Through this Local Plan, the ambition for Suffolk Coastal District is to significantly boost economic growth and housing delivery by providing significant areas of land to support the Port of Felixstowe and to attract investment through the creation of a new business park, whilst delivering at least 582 homes a year.

2.2 Suffolk Coastal District 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 four authorities together form 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 authorities, 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. 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 Suffolk Coastal'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.

016 Ipswich Strategic Planning 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, Suffolk Coastal 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 latest (2016-based) household projections were published in September 2018 and the latest affordability ratios published in April 2018.

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.

Table 2.1 - Housing requirement across the ISPA


Standard method annual housing need

Standard method total housing need (2018 - 2036)







Mid Suffolk



Suffolk Coastal







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[1]  (2016 - 2036)





Mid Suffolk

9 - 30

Suffolk Coastal



52 - 73


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



Suffolk Coastal







 2.13 Evidence of needs for retail and commercial leisure has been produced for Suffolk Coastal 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. 

1. A pitch is an area on a site developed for a family unit to live. [back]

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

Suffolk Coastal 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:

a) 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;

b) The collective delivery of at least 37,328 dwellings across the Ipswich Housing Market Area; and

c) 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.


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. The Upper Orwell Crossings has been identified as a project to relieve traffic congestion around Ipswich town centre and the A14, involving the construction of three new bridges around the Ipswich docks. However, the overall estimated costs have increased and the project is currently paused.

2.16 In addition to enhancements to the existing highway network and integrated transport solutions, including bus network improvements within the town and increased capacity of the local rail offering, a northern route around Ipswich is expected to be needed to enable growth in the longer term. The route would improve connectivity between the A14 and A12, reducing pressure on the A14 and improving network resilience, especially near the Orwell Bridge and Copdock interchange. Suffolk County Council published an Ipswich Northern Route Study in January 2017, which assessed three indicative broad routes. The Council fully supports the ongoing work of Suffolk County Council in considering potential options for routes, and it is expected that the next review of the Suffolk Coastal Local Plan (along with other Local Plans in the Ipswich Strategic Planning Area) will examine route options in more detail, including the extent to which the options might support potential future scenarios for housing and employment growth beyond that which is being planned for within this Local Plan.

2.17 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 District. 

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:

a) Ipswich Northern Route;
b) A12 improvements;
c) A14 improvements;
d) Sustainable transport measures in Ipswich;
e) Improved walking and cycle routes;
f) Increased capacity on railway lines for freight and passenger traffic;
g) Appropriate education provision to meet needs resulting from growth;
h) Appropriate health and leisure provision to meet needs resulting from growth;
i) Appropriate police, community safety and cohesion provision to meet needs resulting from growth;
j) Provision of green infrastructure and Suitable Alternatives Natural Greenspace;
k) Improvements to water supply, foul sewerage and sewage treatment capacity; and
l) Provision of appropriate digital telecommunications to provide mobile, broadband and radio signal for residents and businesses.

Protection of the Environment

2.18 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.

2.19 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.

2.20 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.