West Suffolk Local Plan (Regulation 18) Preferred Options

Part Three: Site Allocations

3.5. Lakenheath

3.5.1. Lakenheath has a population of approximately 5,149 (2019 mid-year estimate). It is located in the north-west of the district, approximately 10 kilometres south-west of Brandon and approximately nine kilometres north of Mildenhall. RAF Lakenheath airbase is located immediately east of the settlement. Lakenheath is a sizable village with a good range of facilities including heath care facilities, primary school, convenience shops and a range of open spaces and leisure and community facilities.

3.5.2. The parish council have embarked on the process of preparing a neighbourhood plan. The neighbourhood plan area was designated by West Suffolk Council on 2 February 2021.

Constraints and opportunities

  • There is a Ministry of Defence (MOD) safeguarded zone around the airbase.
  • A special area of conservation (SAC) zone lies to the south-east of Lakenheath.
  • Land within flood zones 2 and 3 to the north, west and south of the settlement, according to the Environment Agency’s mapping.
  • A large part of West Suffolk contains a European site designation for Stone Curlew. The special protection area (SPA) and its buffer zones are shown in the constraints map below.
  • The Ministry of Defence (MOD) have published information indicating there are noise constraints covering Lakenheath due to aircraft landing at and taking off from RAF Lakenheath. These are shown on the constraint maps. As the aircraft noise constraint data is updated it will be used to inform the determination of planning applications and the local This data may also change with the introduction of F35 aircraft although predictive data supplied by the Ministry of Defence anticipates similar noise impacts overall.
  • Maids Cross Hill Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) lies to the south-east of Lakenheath.
  • A county wildlife site (CWS) lies to the east of Lakenheath.
  • The settlement has one primary school which is near capacity and a further site for a 420 place primary school to the north of the village has been granted planning permission.
  • There is at least an hourly bus service from 9am (at the latest) to 5pm (at the earliest).
  • There is a conservation area in the centre, along with a number of listed buildings.
  • The recent high rate of planned growth at Lakenheath is likely to affect the ability of the settlement and the local housing market to absorb further large-scale growth.

Preferred allocations

3.5.3. One site is proposed as a preferred site for residential development in Lakenheath providing an indicative capacity of 100 dwellings. This figure is reflective of the existing allocations of 676 dwellings. The level of development proposed in Lakenheath 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 settlement.  Further information on how housing numbers have been derived can be seen in part one of the local plan.

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

3.5.5. An existing preferred non-strategic mixed use, retail and commercial site, as well as the existing established employment area have been identified for Lakenheath. Further details can be seen in chapter 7 employment. Each site is identified on the policies map.

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

Lakenheath settlement constraints map
Lakenheath settlement constraints map
Lakenheath preferred allocations map
 Lakenheath preferred allocations map