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

4.7. Great and Little Whelnetham

4.7.1 Great and Little Whelnetham are located approximately four miles to the south east of Bury St Edmunds and have a population of approximately 880 (2018, ONS mid-year estimates). They have a reasonable range of services and facilities including:

  • local employment
  • a primary school
  • post office and village store.

4.7.2 There is a good bus service (at least one bus an hour) to Bury St Edmunds.

4.7.3 Great Whelnetham lies to the south of the A134 and a tributary of the River Lark, Little Whelnetham lies to the east on the upslopes of the river valley and Sicklesmere lies between in the valley.

Constraints and opportunities

  • There is a satisfactory travel to and from work bus service to Bury St Edmunds with a journey time of around 10 minutes.
  • There are several wildlife habitat locations of significance in the area.
  • There is a triangle of green open space located centrally within Sicklesmere and a large area of recreation space to the south of the village.
  • Development should be sensitive to key protected views to the south and north west of the settlement.
  • The A134 forms a boundary to new development north of the existing built up area of Sicklesmere.
  • Sicklesmere Conservation Area stretches north of the A134 from Erskine Lodge up to Park Farm. Views into and out of the conservation area should be preserved to protect the setting of the village.
  • There are a cluster of archaeological sites between Stanningfield Road and Hawstead Lane, the circular structure in the churchyard at Little Whelnetham is a scheduled monument, and Roman sites are recorded in the county Historic Environment Record (HER) at the north end of Great Whelnetham. Another county designated archaeological site is located opposite the village hall at the windmill, which is also a listed building.
  • Great Whelnetham benefits from a large area of recreational open space and hall to the west of Stanningfield Road.
  • The sewage works in Sicklesmere may pose a constraint to development, due to a cordon sanitaire.
  • A flood zone is identified to the north of the settlement and the A134, which, once past the post office, follows the line of the road. A second identified flood zone follows the route of the river to the west, which joins up with the A134 at the Sicklesmere House junction.
  • Access around the village is good, with direct access onto the A134 for Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury. Local junctions may require upgrading if new development takes place.
  • There is a satisfactory travel to and from work bus service to Bury St Edmunds with a journey time of around 10 minutes.
  • Pedestrian/cycle links from the built edge of the village to the school and between Great and Little Whelnetham and the villages services and facilities could be improved.

Settlement status

4.7.4 Great and Little Whelnetham are designated as a local service centre in the current local plan in recognition of the role they have to play in serving their residents 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.

4.7.5 The former St Edmundsbury area Rural Vision 2031 (2014) allocates two sites for residential development: RV20a Land at Erskine Lodge (phase 1 completed) and RV20b Land off Tutelina Rise which is complete.

Site options

4.7.6 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.

4.7.7 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.

4.7.8 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.

4.7.9 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.

4.7.10 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.

Great and Little Whelnetham settlement constraints map

Great and Little Whelnetham

Great and Little Whelnetham settlement map showing SHELAA included sites

Great and Little Whelnetham

Great and Little Whelnetham - included SHELAA sites

2020 reference

Site name

Area (ha)

Proposed use

Current use
planning status

Indicative capacity*[1]


Land to the north and west of Erskine Lodge, Stanningfield Road, Great Whelnetham



Erskine Lodge and curtilage
allocated RV20a
planning permission granted
phase 1 affordable housing completed
phase 2 commenced

Phase 1 –23

Phase 2 –35

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]