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

3.2. Clare

3.2.1 Clare is a small market town with a population of 2,131 (2018 mid-year estimate), located approximately eleven kilometres from the centre of Haverhill. It is a historic Suffolk town with a wide range of local services and facilities including:

  • country park
  • play area and recreation ground
  • a community hall
  • a post office
  • a primary school
  • the Stour Valley Community School
  • four public houses
  • a library
  • allotments
  • GP surgeries

3.2.2 The town is designated as a key service centre in recognition of the important role it has to play in serving the residents of the town and those who live in the surrounding rural area.

3.2.3 There are no national or habitat designations in close proximity to the town. Much of Clare is covered by a conservation area which extends to the open common land to the east and west of the town. This area has an adopted Conservation Area Management Plan (2008) which provides a basis by which any planning applications for development in or adjacent to the conservation area will be determined. There are important views which need protecting, as well as a country park which contains the historic remains of a medieval castle with motte and bailey.

Constraints and opportunities

  • Any large scale development has the potential to impact negatively on the character of the settlement. However, small scale peripheral extension may be possible.
  • Development is further limited to the east through a rise in the land and to the west from the requirement to protect the character of the conservation area and historic landscape setting of the medieval settlement.
  • Additional growth should consolidate and enhance existing community services and facilities.
  • The scale of growth will be dependent on local environmental and infrastructure capacity and will need to respect the landscape setting and historic qualities of Clare.
  • The linear pattern of development and flood risk areas along the two river corridors will influence the possible locations for growth.
  • The alignment of the A1092 through the centre of the town can give rise to congestion.
  • Clare is a medieval town that lies within the rich archaeological landscape of the Stour Valley, as recorded in the county Historic Environment Record (HER). The prehistoric Clare Camp and medieval castle are scheduled ancient monuments.

Settlement status

3.2.4 The town is designated as a key service centre in the current local plan in recognition of the important role it has to play in serving the residents of the town and those who live in the surrounding rural area. Clare provides a number of key services and facilities that meet the town’s own needs, and the needs of other nearby smaller settlements. It is proposed that the town maintains its status and is designated as a key service centre in the new West Suffolk settlement hierarchy.

3.2.5 The former St Edmundsbury area Rural Vision 2031 (2014) allocated two sites in the town for a total of 124 dwellings. One site has been developed with 60 dwellings at Pask Way and Maxim Lane, but the second site for 64 dwellings at Cavendish Road has not been developed. An application for 57 dwellings on the site has been submitted but remains undetermined.

Site options

3.2.6  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.

3.2.7 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.

3.2.8 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.

3.2.9 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.

3.2.10 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.

Clare settlement constraints map


Clare settlement map showing SHELAA included sites


Clare - included SHELAA sites

2020 reference

Site name

Area (hectares)

Proposed use

Current use/planning status

Indicative capacity*[1]


Land along Cavendish Road



Agricultural and grazing
amenity land



Townsend Nurseries






Fields known as Cricketers and Lutus-Daneum, north of Stoke Road






Land north of Cavendish Road



Agricultural (arable)



Land to the south-east of Chilton Street Business Park, Clare (resubmitted as land at Snow Hill)






Land off Cavendish Road



Allocated – RV11(b)
DC/17/1252/FUL – pending decision – 53 dwellings


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]