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

Part 3 - settlements

Part 3 - 2. Towns

2.1. Brandon

2.1.1 Brandon is located to the north of the district on the border with Breckland district and has a population of approximately 9,474 (2018 mid-year estimate). Brandon is a market town, hosting a weekly provisions market. There are a good range of services and amenities available including:

  • a library
  • a police station
  • two dental practices
  • a free school (age 11 to 16 years)
  • two primary schools
  • two GP practices
  • one nursing home
  • a fire station
  • a community centre.

2.1.2 The town centre offers a range of shops and services, including:

  • supermarkets
  • local convenience stores
  • comparison shops and services.

2.1.3 There are open spaces and sports provision including a leisure centre with a four court sports hall and indoor bowls. The railway line runs east-west in the northern part of the settlement, and the railway station is located at Bridge Street providing links to Norwich and Ely.

Constraints and opportunities 

2.1.4 Whilst this well served market town would appear to provide significant opportunities for growth, the environmental constraints, in particular the Natura 2000 sites, place a severe limit on the extent of development that can take place:

  • Land within Flood Zones 2 and 3 to the north of the settlement along the Little Ouse river.
  • There are excellent natural areas around the town, although there is concern that new development will lead to an increase in recreational disturbance to protected birds.
  • Listed buildings in the High Street and the town centre conservation area, together with the Little Ouse riverside setting, and Brandon Country Park, create an attractive setting for the town.
  • Breckland Special Protection Area (SPA) designated for stone curlew, woodlark and nightjar and its constraint zones significantly restrict growth in the town. The SPA and the extent of the constraint zone is illustrated on the constraint map.
  • There are Ministry of Defence (MOD) airbase noise constraint zones to the south of Brandon as a consequence of aircraft landing at and taking off from RAF Lakenheath.
  • Sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) are Breckland Forest SSSI located to the south and east of Brandon; Weeting Heath SSSI and national nature reserve to the north-west, Breckland farmland to the north and west, and London Road Industrial Estate, Brandon SSSI, located within the employment area.

2.1.5 Brandon continues to function as a market town serving the retail and leisure needs of the local catchment area and there is no change proposed to its status as a town in the settlement hierarchy. However, the constraints, in particular the proximity to Breckland SPA, continue to limit opportunities for growth with strong evidence that the buffers to protect Breckland SPA continue to be justified. The adopted former Forest Heath area Site Allocations Local Plan (2019) allocates two sites within the built-up area for housing, SA2(a) land at Warren Close for 23 dwellings, and SA2(b) land off Gas House Drove for 10 dwellings, a site for a cemetery at Manor Road, four employment areas and a town centre masterplan.

Site options

2.1.6  The level of development will be influenced by the settlement strategy which will determine the distribution of development across the district as well as the existing environmental and physical constraints and the overall capacity for growth in the settlement.

2.1.7 A number of sites have been submitted to the council by landowners and developers for potential inclusion in the local plan. Included sites in the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) that lie within or adjacent to the settlement boundary are shown on the map below, as these have passed the initial tests of being suitable, available and achievable, and so are more likely to be sites that could be suitable for allocation in the local plan.

2.1.8 It is important to note that at this stage these sites have not been selected as preferred sites for development, but we are seeking views on them to assist with the preparation of the next draft of the plan, where decisions will be made on which, if any, sites would be suitable for allocation.

2.1.9 The table below provides information on these sites, setting out information on the proposed use and planning status. Also below is a map of the main settlement constraints to assist you in making a response.

2.1.10 Your comments on these sites will help in drawing up the next draft of the West Suffolk Local Plan for consultation in 2021. This will set out the council’s preferred options for the distribution of housing and other land uses across the district. The council will also consult on the preferred sites across the district to achieve this distribution.

Brandon settlement constraints map

Brandon

Brandon settlement map showing SHELAA included sites

Brandon settlement map showing SHELAA included sites

Brandon - included SHELAA sites

2020 reference

Site name

Area (hectares)

Proposed use

Current use
planning status

Indicative capacity*[1]

WS032

Land off Gas House Lane

0.35

Residential

Former gas works
allocated SA2(b)
outline permission granted

10

WS033

Warren Close

0.68

Residential

Former library and preschool
allocated SA2(a)
planning application - pending decision

23

1. *an indicative capacity of 30 dwellings per hectare is applied unless the site is already allocated or has planning permission. For sites over 100 dwellings, 40 per cent of land set aside for infrastructure. [back]