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

Part 3 - 4. Local Service Centres

4.1. Bardwell

4.1.1 Bardwell is a village with a population of 867 (2019 mid-year estimate), located approximately 18 kilometres north-east from Bury St Edmunds and 13 kilometres from Thetford. It has an historic core centred on the village church with a number of flint work buildings throughout the settlement. It has a reasonable range of services and facilities including:

  • village hall
  • two Public Houses
  • a primary school
  • a Post Office and shop
  • a play area/recreation space.

4.1.2 The role of Thetford is also acknowledged in terms of the services and facilities it provides for the residents of Bardwell and other villages in the northern part of the district.

Constraints and opportunities

  • Bardwell has a fair bus service to Bury St Edmunds and nearby key service centres.
  • Amenity open space is provided centrally and to the north-east of the village. Sloping land to the west and south-east limits development in both these directions.
  • There are no prospects of coalescence with nearby hamlets but it will be important to maintain a settlement gap with Stanton to the east, Ixworth to the south and Sapiston to the north-west.
  • The River Blackbourne’s course is to the west of the settlement, where there is an extensive flood zone. This, and the county wildlife site that is also to the west, restricts any future development in this direction.
  • There are no national or habitat designations in close proximity to the village.
  • The scale of growth will be dependent on local environmental and infrastructure capacity.
  • Much of Bardwell is covered by a conservation area, which is extensive and opportunities for new development should have regard to it to the east and west of the central village cluster. There are many listed buildings throughout the village.
  • A recreational buffer zone (associated with Breckland SPA) covers the north-west of the village and beyond.
  • There are wildlife designations scattered around the settlement.
  • Church Road forms a defensible boundary to the north-west of the settlement containing development in this direction.
  • The historic core of the village centres on the church and moated site, with historic streets running north and southwards. A Roman site is recorded to the south of the village, and Iron Age and Saxon activity to the north.

4.1.3 The parish council have embarked on the process of preparing a neighbourhood plan. The neighbourhood plan area was designated by West Suffolk Council on 18 April 2017.

Settlement status

4.1.4 The village is designated as a local service centre in the current local plan in recognition of the role it has to play in serving the residents of the village and those who live in the surrounding rural area. It is proposed that its status is retained as a local service centre in the new West Suffolk settlement hierarchy.

4.1.5 No sites are allocated in Bardwell in the former St Edmundsbury area Rural Vision 2031 document.

Site options

4.1.6 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.

4.1.7 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.

4.1.8 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.

4.1.9 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.

4.1.10 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. 

Bardwell settlement constraints map


Bardwell settlement map showing SHELAA included sites


Bardwell - included SHELAA sites

2020 reference

Site name

Area (hectares)

Proposed use

Current use
planning status

Indicative capacity*[1]


Land at Stanton Road






Hillside, Knox Lane






Street Farm, Low Street



Agricultural buildings


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]