- The Masterplan area is bounded by hedges along most boundaries. A blanket Tree Preservation Order covers the entirety of the site;
- Water bodies / ponds in and around the masterplan area could potentially be home to protected species;
- Ditches run along the north and north-east boundary adjacent to Bury Road and Sumner Road;
- Sensitivity / Proximity with boundaries to commercial uses, residential dwellings, open spaces, countryside;
- Overhead electricity lines and Pylons are found across the site, which would require development off-setting of around 20 metres and / or replacement lines underground;
- It may be beneficial to create focused views into certain parts of the developable areas of the site from the surrounding countryside, where this would serve a better understanding of the development and the uses contained within it;
- There are also several potential access points available from the surrounding road network / vehicle routes of the industrial estates and from Bury Road, but all are poor;
- Financial constraints – the requirement for the new access roundabout + link road to connect to Shepherds Grove West, places considerable early costs onto the development of the masterplan area.
The Masterplan area is allocated in the ‘Vision 2031 Local Plan’ as a Rural Employment Area for new business uses. However, the policy requires that the undeveloped/available parts of the area, can only be developed once a new access road and roundabout on the A143 have been constructed, so that vehicular access to Shepherd’s Grove West is no longer through the village of Stanton. As a consequence, the development of the available land for business purposes cannot be viably achieved without the inclusion of a proportion of residential and other commercial uses.
A detailed assessment of the total infrastructure costs has been undertaken, which taken with the economic viability assessment demonstrates the need for a residential area that could accommodate up to 380 dwellings assuming a requirement for policy compliant 30% affordable housing, to be included within the masterplan. However, given the need for residential is to pump prime the development rather than achieve residential in itself, it maybe that West Suffolk will consider relaxing the affordable housing percentage required. This would reduce the dwelling numbers required and reduce the land take, leaving more for employment. To deliver comparable land value with no affordable housing would only require 265 dwellings. A requirement for 10% affordable would only require 299 dwellings, whereas 20% would need 336 dwellings. Therefore, a range of residential development between 265 – 380 dwellings is currently considered to be essential to make any scheme for the undeveloped land within the masterplan area viable, and to ensure delivery of the required infrastructure.
Further information on economic viability has been provided to the Council as an appendix to this masterplan, and this sets out the detailed justification for this range of residential development, including the costs of the infrastructure to serve the overall masterplan development, which is estimated at £11.92m. Should further ‘value engineering’ be possible
and / or grant assistance becomes available for the project, the number of dwellings required could be revised downwards.
Potential Land Uses
The site offers the opportunity to create a sustainable, mixed-use development comprising employment, commercial, residential and community uses, subject to satisfactory economic viability and the production of a viable masterplan.
The employment uses will complement existing adjacent areas at Shepherd’s Grove East and Shepherd’s Grove West, and include some higher profile commercial uses along the A143. The location also offers the opportunity for the creation of an attractive residential development with connections to the services and facilities available in Stanton (to the west) and Walsham- le-Willows (to the south).
This ‘higher value’ use is justified in planning policy terms and will fund the infrastructure required to serve the whole of the ‘undeveloped land’ within the masterplan area, as well as Shepherd’s Grove West.
The diagram above illustrates the development opportunities that could be available for the currently undeveloped parts of the Masterplan area. The new road into the area from the A143 would provide access directly to Shepherd’s Grove West, as well as potential new employment uses within the Masterplan area.