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

4.8. Hopton

4.8.1 Hopton and Knettishall has a population of 618 (2018 mid-year estimate). Hopton is a village located approximately 24 kilometres from Bury St Edmunds. It has a reasonable range of facilities including:

  • a grocery store
  • a play school
  • a primary school
  • a Public House
  • a recreation field.

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

Constraints and opportunities

  • The west and north of Hopton are subject to numerous planning constraints including: an extensive special landscape area Weston and Hopton Fens SSSI, and flood zones associated with the Little Ouse river.
  • There is a county wildlife site that lies south of Nethergate Street, outside of the housing settlement boundary. There are also some sites that have been recognised as habitats for particular species, some of which lie within the current built up area.
  • The Waveney and Little Ouse Valley Fens Special Area of Conservation (SAC), of international importance to nature conservation, is a short distance to the west of Hopton. Whilst visitors are currently welcomed, a significant increase in visitors could result in damage to vegetation on the site.
  • The village is lacking in amenity open space but there is recreational area to the south-west of the primary school.
  • There are two main clusters of listed buildings, the first at the western end of Nethergate Street and the second is centred around the crossroads and the church.
  • A conservation area designation covers the area around the church and stretches northwards to cover the properties that front on to the High Street up to Hopton House. Combined, these designations will limit new development to the east and west of the High Street, so as to protect key views into and from the countryside and to protect the setting of the village.
  • Hopton’s historic settlement core centres on The Street and the church. Multi-period sites are recorded in the county Historic Environment Record (HER) to the south of Nethergate Street and to the west of Manor Farm at the northern boundary of Hopton. There are several locations of particular note in terms of archaeology. There should be assessment of the archaeological potential of proposed sites at an appropriate stage in the design of new developments.
  • There is a flood zone which lies to the west of Hopton, between the residential development at Fen Street and the edge of development on Nethergate Street. A large flood risk area is also located to the north-east of the village, covering Raydon Common.
  • Hopton lies on the B1111, which provides a north/south link between the A143 to Bury St Edmunds and the A1066 to Thetford and Diss. The local roads and junctions may require upgrading in order for Hopton to accommodate new development.
  • There is no satisfactory bus service to Thetford or Diss from Hopton, with only limited buses to Bury St Edmunds.

Settlement status

4.8.3 Hopton 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.

Site options

4.8.4 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.

4.8.5 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.

4.8.6 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.

4.8.7 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.

4.8.8 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.

Hopton settlement constraints map


Hopton settlement map showing SHELAA included sites


Hopton - included SHELAA site

2020 reference

Site name

Area (hectares)

Proposed use

Current use
planning status

Indicative capacity*[1]


Land off Bury Road



allocated RV21
planning permission granted


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]