West Suffolk Local Plan (Regulation 18) Preferred Options

Part Three: Site Allocations

2.3. Haverhill

2.3.1. Haverhill is the second largest town in West Suffolk with a population of 27,481 (2019 mid-year estimate), located at the south-west edge of the district adjoining the county boundary of both Essex and Cambridgeshire some 29 kilometres, south-west of Bury St Edmunds and 26 kilometres south-east of Cambridge. Haverhill is considered to be a sustainable location with access to a wide range of services and facilities to serve the town and wider district, however it does not benefit from a railway and has limited health provision, local transport links and 16+ education. The market town hosts a twice weekly provisions market, four large food retailers, and a range of convenience and comparison shops represented by both national and independent retailers. The town hosts a number of facilities which serve a wide rural hinterland including a number of small sites for expansion of employment uses, secondary schools, primary schools, sports, leisure and cultural facilities and a number of established employment areas mostly clustered around the south-east of the town.

Constraints and opportunities

  • Haverhill is a medieval market town, which follows a linear pattern of development within the contours of the Stour Brook. This key characteristic of the town will influence possible locations for growth.
  • The town includes two conservation areas, Queen Street and Hamlet Road, which makes up the historic core of the town.
  • Haverhill includes a few listed buildings, primarily clustered along the High Street and Queen Street.
  • Much of the town centre is covered by an area of archaeological importance, beyond which there are other archaeological sites within and near to the town boundary.
  • The Stour Brook runs through the town on the north-west, south-east axis. The banks of the river are designated as flood zone two and three which may restrict development in these locations.
  • The town also includes a disused railway line, which has been utilised as a footpath and cycleway¬†running along the town on the north-west, south-east axis. The railway walk provides an important green corridor connecting natural areas of the town and is a key asset to the natural environment of Haverhill. Development within Haverhill must consider opportunities to improve access and/or connectivity to the railway walk and the natural environment.
  • Proximity of Haverhill to the Cambridge sub-region, particularly Addenbrookes Hospital and its Biomedical Campuses, makes it an attractive commuter location increasing congestion on the local road network, particularly the A1307, at peak times.
  • The increased trend in working from home will help to strengthen the vitality and viability of local centres and businesses in the town.
  • Existing allocations in the town will deliver in the region of 3,900 new homes, three new primary schools and a new country park to the south-east of the town.
  • The recent high rate of planned growth at Haverhill is likely to affect the ability of the settlement and the local housing market to absorb further large-scale growth.
  • Proximity of the county boundaries on the east, west and south sides of the town will influence the possible locations for development. Any development in the adjacent counties, near to the town, could have an adverse effect on the town if it has to provide additional services.
  • The Haverhill Town Centre Masterplan was adopted in 2015 which outlines the direction of future development within Haverhill town centre. This masterplan will be superceded following adoption of the West Suffolk Local Plan.

Preferred allocation

2.3.2. The level of development proposed in Haverhill is influenced by the overall housing requirement and the settlement strategy. This determines the distribution of development across the district as well as the existing environmental and physical constraints and the overall capacity for growth in the town. Further information on how housing numbers have been derived can be seen in part one of the local plan.

2.3.3. Further information on alternative site options considered but not taken forward can be seen in the table of omission sites in appendix B.

2.3.4. Existing preferred non-strategic employment and mixed-use sites, as well as existing established employment areas have been identified for Haverhill. Further details can be seen in chapter 7 employment. Each site is identified on the policies map.

2.3.5. Information on infrastructure can be seen in the draft infrastructure delivery plan (IDP) (2022) which sets out baseline data for each settlement.

Haverhill settlement constraints map
Haverhill settlement constraints map
Haverhill preferred allocations map
 Haverhill preferred allocations map