West Suffolk Local Plan (Regulation 18) Issues and Options October 2020

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West Suffolk Local Plan update to timeline
Thank you for your interest to date in the West Suffolk Local Plan. The information and evidence received to date has been invaluable and we wanted to provide you with a brief update as to where we have got to in our preparation of the final draft of the plan.

West Suffolk Council, through its officers and a working group comprising a cross party mix of councillors, has been making good progress in reviewing the submissions submitted from the preferred options consultation. We have looked at the various evidence, and we have had ongoing conversations with infrastructure providers and stakeholders to help test the deliverability of sites within the plan period and understand any barriers that would at first need to be overcome.

This has informed our ongoing work in the drafting of planning policies and the selection of sites for housing and employment. All of this has been in readiness for consulting on the submission draft plan, the final stage before it is sent to the planning inspectorate.

Given the significant progress that the council has already made with the evidence base already submitted, we will not be inviting or accepting the submission of any further sites.

We are, however, making a small adjustment to the West Suffolk Local Plan timetable (please see below). This is so the next stage of the draft can include changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which are part of a national policy consultation announced by Government shortly before Christmas. Any changes to the NPPF are expected to be published in the spring and will inform the preparation of local plans.

This means that rather than consulting on the submission draft in the spring, we will consult in the latter half of the year.

The Government’s consultation on the NPPF includes suggested transitional arrangements for those authorities that are preparing local plans. This encourages local authorities to continue preparing local plans and for them to be submitted to the Inspectorate by the 25 June 2025 at the latest.

If you are registered on our consultation database, you will be informed of the consultation dates of the submission plan later this year.

Please click here to open the updated timeline
West Suffolk Local Plan Background Evidence Documents
Please note: This table of documents will no longer be updated. Remaining background evidence documents will be published alongside the preferred options consultation on 26 May 2022.
Please note - we cannot always guarantee that documents produced by external organisations, and published on our websites, are fully accessible. If you need a particular document in an accessible format please contact us.
January 2022 - West Suffolk Employment Land Review 2021

October 2021 - West Suffolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) Housing Needs of Specific Groups - - the housing needs assessment sets out the number of homes needed in the future to inform local plans and housing strategies. The document examines the housing needs of specific groups from 2020 to 2040 and particularly focusses on needs of specific groups with housing requirements to support a healthy economy and achieve a balanced housing market. Please note that delivery of different of housing types and provision will have regard to viability and be tested through a local plan process.

September 2021 - West Suffolk Green Infrastructure Strategy - survey

July 2021 - West Suffolk Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) 2021 update - July 2021

June 2021 - West Suffolk Stage 1 Water Cycle Study April 2021

June 2021 - West Suffolk Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment April 2021

West Suffolk Local Plan update 14 April 2021

Comments made to the Issues and Options consultation - Oct to Dec 2020 have now been published. Please see links below 

Please read the notes below by clicking 'read more' for explanation on how to view the comments and further updates on the local plan process.

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We are writing to update you on the West Suffolk Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation which you took part in. We want to thank you first off all for making your views known as these are crucial in helping shape the plan going forward. We also would like you to review your responses and check they are accurate.

The Local Plan Issues and Options consultation closed on 22 December and received a high number of comments, with over 3,000 individual representations received. All of these responses are now viewable online at public consultation system.

In addition, 24 comments were received to the Sustainability Appraisal (SA), 18 to the Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) and 61 to the Sustainable Settlements Study. The responses received are also available at the link above (under News and Updates).

The council is preparing a response to the representations received. When complete summary tables of all the representations together with an officer response will be available at the weblink above on 10 May 2021. Given the number of responses the council will also publish a summary of the key issues raised during the consultation.  

How to review your response

We would appreciate it if you could review your own comments to check they are accurate, please note:

  • Comments submitted by email or post were entered by council officers and you should check that we have accurately captured your views.
  • Some comments submitted via the online system on particular sections may have been moved to a more appropriate section or document.
  • Some comments have been deleted due to duplication where they are made by the same respondent. This is only done where the comments were repeated more than once within the document. This is normal practice and these have been combined to avoid repetition. It should be noted that this does not affect the weight given to a particular issue.
  • Comments submitted on Parts 1, 2 or 3 through the online questionnaires have been transferred and will be shown as a comment against the section they relate to.

To view your comments online please log in to your account at public consultation system using your registered email address.

If your comment has not been interpreted correctly please let us know by email at consultations.planningpolicy@westsuffolk.gov.uk

Call for sites

In response to the call for sites, 77 new sites were submitted for consideration. The sites are being processed and mapped and will be made publicly available at the link above on the 10 May 2021.  

Local plan evidence base

A number of evidence base studies are being prepared or are in the process of being commissioned to help inform the next draft of the plan, including an employment land study, a retail study, a green infrastructure study and site wildlife audits. As studies are finalised, they will be made available on the table of background evidence documents.

Next Steps

Officers are currently preparing evidence and background information to help inform the next draft of the plan which will establish the council’s preferred housing requirement, settlement hierarchy, distribution strategy and site allocations.

The preferred options draft plan is scheduled for consultation in January 2022, and it is anticipated that the document will be presented to councillors for approval to consult towards the end of 2021.

The most up to date timeline for the production of the plan can be seen here.  

How to contact us

If you have any questions about the local plan process or timetable, please contact consultations.planningpolicy@westsuffolk.gov.uk or telephone 01284 757368.

Council's comments to consultation responses have now been published

The council's comments to your consultation responses are now live.

You can view them by logging onto your account, select the document below and then click the section you are interested in:

or you can download a PDF of all the responses received with the council's comments by clicking the links below.

Issues and Options consultation - CLOSED

Draft settlement hierarchyA local plan provides a vision for the growth and development of an area and policies which set out the way that the plan aims to meet the housing, employment, social and community needs of an area while at the same time protecting and enhancing the natural, built and historic environment.

This is the beginning of the process of drawing up a local plan for West Suffolk.

It is important to identify the key issues that have an impact on our area and the options that are available to us in planning for growth.

No decisions have been made, and we don't have all the answers, so it is important for us to hear your views and comments so they can be taken into account and influence the next stages of the plan.

The document has been split into three separate and distinct parts for your convenience. For more information on each section click 'read more' below.

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Part one sets out a draft land use vision for West Suffolk, draft strategic objectives and the draft strategic issues that we need to plan for in the district. There are options for how we plan for these, and your responses to the questions in this section will help develop the policies that we will consult
on at the next stage of plan preparation.

Part two identify issues in West Suffolk that are particularly relevant to our area, and this part of the document is set out as a series of topics including the natural and historic environment, transport, employment, climate change, housing, retail, leisure and wellbeing, rural communities and horseracing.

Part three contains sections for those towns, key service centres, local service centres and villages identified in the draft settlement hierarchy in part one of the plan. Each section summarises the main opportunities and constraints for each of those settlements and goes on to provide details of those sites which have been submitted to the council as potential options for development.

West Suffolk Local Plan Issues and Options (Regulation 18) consultation documents

Additional consultation documents

Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Regulations Assessment and the Sustainable Settlements Study are all available below.


  • Opened
    13 Oct 2020 at 09:00
  • Closed
    22 Dec 2020 at 17:00
  • Response Published
    24 Sep 2021

Consultation Documents

Supporting Documents