The St Edmundsbury Local Plan sets out the long term planning and land use policies within the Borough. It is made up of a series of documents, comprising: the Core Strategy; Vision 2031 Local Plans (for Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, and the Rural Areas); Joint Development Management Policies Document; and Proposals Maps.
Shepherd’s Grove is located to the east of the village of Stanton, and is included within the ‘Rural Vision 2031’ Local Plan, which was adopted in September 2014. Policy RV4 of the Plan designates Shepherd’s Grove, Stanton as one of eleven ‘Rural Employment Areas’ for new business uses within Use Classes B1, B2 and B8 (offices, ‘research and development’ and light industrial; general industrial; and storage and distribution). The policy also states that within the Shepherd’s Grove Stanton rural employment area there are 53 hectares of developable site area, but that new infrastructure is required to facilitate any development – specifically, a new access road to serve the Shepherd’s Grove Industrial Estates (Shepherd’s Grove East and Shepherd’s Grove West). The route of the required new access road is identified on the Policies Map (Inset Map 48 – see below).
In addition, Policy RV4 allows for the inclusion of a proportion of residential and/or other higher value development, subject to certain criteria relating to the economic viability of any development and the exclusion of town centre uses. The policy also states that the amount, location and nature of any higher-value development will need to be specified in a masterplan that must be prepared for the site. Applications for planning permission will only be determined once the masterplan has been adopted by the local planning authority.
The purpose of the masterplan is to:
- Set out a ‘vision’ for the development of Shepherd’s Grove, in accordance with Local Plan policy;
- Provide a framework masterplan to identify developable areas, potential land uses, access arrangements, phasing of development, overall design, layout and landscaping;
- Explain and justify the inclusion of residential development to make the provision of the necessary infrastructure economically viable; and,
- Describe how the detailed assessment of the masterplan area has influenced the ‘vision’ and the framework masterplan.
Shepherd’s Grove is a former RAF Airfield site that is currently used for a variety of purposes, including: industrial; warehousing; storage; and other commercial uses. These uses developed during the 1970s and 1980s and are located in two distinct areas – Shepherd’s Grove East, and Shepherd’s Grove West – which are separated by an area of brownfield land that is now cleared of buildings, structures and hardstandings.
To the north, Shepherd’s Grove is bounded by the A143 Bury Road, and to the east by Sumner Road, which leads from the A143 southwards to Walsham Le Willows. To the south, Shepherd’s Grove adjoins open countryside in arable use, interspersed by small areas of woodland. To the south-west, Shepherd’s Grove West adjoins the hamlet of Upthorpe and Shepherd’s Grove Park (a residential park homes site). To the west (north of Shepherd’s Grove West), the adjoining land is also in agricultural use with a few scattered residential properties along the south side of the A143.
At the present time, access to Shepherd’s Grove West can only be obtained via Upthorpe Road and Grove Lane through the village of Stanton. This includes all commercial vehicles and HGVs. Shepherd’s Grove East is accessed via two separate entrances from Sumner Road to the east. The plan below shows the known land ownerships within the masterplan area. Shepherd’s Grove West is understood to be in a multitude of different ownerships.
Outline planning permission for industrial and commercial development (B1, B2 and B8 uses without floor area or hours of use restrictions) was granted for the ‘undeveloped part’ of the Masterplan area in May 2000, subject to a Section 106 Agreement, and was renewed in 2004. These permissions have since lapsed. A further planning permission was granted on the same site in July 2006 for a distribution centre comprising 114,900 square metres (1,236,772 sq.ft) of B8 (warehouse) floorspace plus ancillary offices, parking and service areas, and a new roundabout access on the A143. This permission was also subject to a Section 106 and Section 278 Agreements (in respect of the road improvements). This permission (LPA Ref: SE/02/1747/P), which was obtained by IKEA for a new distribution centre, expired on 6th July 2011.