West Suffolk Local Plan (Regulation 18) Issues and Options Consultation – July 2022

Response from Fornham St Martin cum St Genevieve Parish Council

The Parish Council on behalf of the residents of Fornham St Martin and Fornham St Genevieve villages have the following comments.

The villages have always felt strongly protective of their independence and cherished separate identity as rural infill villages. The separation between the two villages and Bury St Edmunds Town has always been extremely important and there has always been fierce resistance to any coalescence between the town and the surrounding Villages.

We understand that the villages will be re classified from “infill” villages to “Type A” villages under the new joint West Suffolk Council Local Plan. The declassification of the villages to “Type A” means that there is the distinct possibility of unwanted new development being allowed within the villages and their boundaries, thus bringing the villages even closer to the town of Bury St Edmunds.

The Parish Council strongly objected to the reclassification from ‘infill’ to ‘Type A’ under the last consultation in October 2020, and we are deeply disappointed that our views and opinions and those of our residents have been ignored and would now strongly object again to the change of village status.

We understand the new classification “Type A” has been based upon the fact that the villages are within two kilometres of local services, however the local services in question are actually those within the town of Bury St Edmunds. There are in fact no schools, GP’s, shops or even a post office in the actual villages.

The fact that the villages independence and separation from the town of Bury St Edmunds is of vital importance to the residents means that this is just a further incidence of coalescence, which must be avoided and prevented at all costs. It is imperative that the feelings of the residents are taken into consideration. It is also felt that this declassification to “Type A” is yet another stepping stone to the villages losing their infill/rural status and will be setting a precedent for future unwanted development.

We understand that the previous infill village metric of “5 properties maximum per plot” is not in the “type A” definition so as a Parish Council we would want to campaign vehemently to try and get this reinstated. This would provide a measure of protection that is vital for resident’s piece of mind. Site 5.06a shown on the plan as being available for developments of up to 10 dwellings, is not in-line with the villages current classification of an ‘infill’ village, which would normally only allow development of up to 5 dwellings, as we strongly oppose the reclassification of our villages, we would ask that this site be changed to a maximum of 5 dwellings only, especially as in the last 2 years the villages have already been effected by several major developments in the area, namely The West Suffolk Operational Hub, Marham Park and Fornham Park. All of which have had their own impact on the infrastructure and environment within the villages. We feel that the two villages and the surrounding area have already made a significant contribution to large scale development and housing provision. Supporting infrastructure (roads, schools, healthcare provision) should all be taken into account and considered fully before the plans are finalised and agreed.

The Parish Council would like to reiterate that we strongly object to the declassification of our villages to “Type A” status and we are opposed to the site 5.06a being available for 10 dwellings and would ask that the classification remain as an ‘infill’ village and the site 5.06a be available for only 5 dwellings development.



Have #YourSay on #YourFuture of #YourWestSuffolk


From today, residents across West Suffolk can have their say and shape the future of where new homes can be built and where employment growth may take place.

The West Suffolk Local Plan, which covers the period up to 2040 and will be used to decide planning applications, will guide where land such as countryside is protected as well as where development for new housing or land for employment can take place.

The local plan also contains the policies that will secure the delivery of affordable housing, new play areas, green public open space, health and education facilities, and transport provision.

But first the creation of a local plan must go through several stages of public consultation as set out by the Government. The West Suffolk Local Plan, which is still only a draft, has completed its first stage of public consultation to discuss the issues and options. This is the second round of consultation.

The first consultation, together with national guidance and emerging evidence, has led to a refined set of sites and policy parameters that the council is now seeking views on.

To get to this point some sites have been dismissed while others have been included and the Council is seeking feedback on both.  As part of this consultation, the council is also carrying out a ‘call for sites’ to ensure it has explored all possible options before it concludes the sites selected for the final draft local plan, which is due to go out to consultation next year.   

The document also includes policy parameters for how development will address climate change, increase biodiversity and aid people’s health and wellbeing including through homes that can adapt to support people’s changing health needs as they grow older.

In total, the Government has identified that 15,200 more homes will be needed in West Suffolk by 2040 to meet future housing needs. Some 8,600 of these already have planning permission which leaves land for at least 6,600 homes to be identified through the new local plan.   

The preferred options stage includes land for 7,134 homes – this is because the Council must over allocate to provide a level of choice and certainty that it will meet its housing needs. The preferred options are made up of new sites as well as sites in the existing plans of the former St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District councils that are yet to gain planning permission, and which are now being reassessed as part of this new local plan. Of the land identified for the 7,134 homes, only 2,600 of these homes are on new sites that have been put forward.

The preferred options consultation will run to 26 July 2022 and residents can find out more and have their say by visiting our virtual exhibition at https://westsuffolk.exhibition.app/

They can also come along to any of our public exhibition events taking place in the following towns and villages below.





Barrow village hall – main hall

Wednesday 8 June

3pm to 7pm

Brandon market

Saturday 9 July

9am to 1pm

Bury St Edmunds – The Apex

Saturday 11 June

10am to 4.30pm

Bury St Edmunds market

Wednesday 29 June

9am to 4pm

Clare market

Saturday 18 June

9am to 1.30pm

Haverhill market

Saturday 2 July

9am to 3pm

Ixworth village hall – main hall

Friday 24 June


3pm to 6.45pm

Kedington community centre – committee room

Friday 10 June


3pm to 7pm

Lakenheath Peace Memorial Hall

Thursday 30 June

3pm to 7pm

Mildenhall Hub

Saturday 25 June

9am to 4.30pm

Newmarket - The Guineas shopping centre outside the library and The Pantry

Tuesday 14 June

9am to 3pm

Newmarket - The Guineas shopping centre outside the library and The Pantry

Saturday 16 July


9am to 4.30pm

Red Lodge Sports Pavilion

Wednesday 22 June 


3pm to 6.30pm

Stanton Village Hall - small hall/lounge

Thursday 16 June 

3pm to 7pm


Alternatively, residents can email planning.policy@westsuffolk.gov.ukor phone 01284 757368 to find out other ways that they can participate.


Cllr David Roach, Cabinet Member for Planning at West Suffolk Council said: “Having a local plan in place is vital. Without it, development will still happen, but our communities and the council will have less of a voice. Without it we won’t be able to prevent inappropriate, speculative development from taking place. Without it we can’t offer as much protection to greenfield sites and the countryside while there would also be fewer safeguards to stop employment land being used for housing. And we could well end up with other inappropriate garden, infill and other development that negatively impacts on communities.


“The local plan is crucial to meeting housing needs, so our communities have somewhere to live, that homes are built to good quality and are adaptable to support people’s changing health needs as they get older. It is also key to ensuring land is allocated for different types of businesses, supporting their ambitions and with it jobs and the future of our communities.


“That’s why it is important that people to have their say. It’s your future, your say, your West Suffolk.”

This consultation on the preferred options will lead to further changes to the draft local plan and will followed by another public consultation next year on the “submission” draft of the plan. Finally, the plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State who will then appoint a Planning Inspector to carry out an independent examination – and it is only after the Planning Inspector has found the plan acceptable, that the local plan can be recommended to a meeting of the council to seek its adoption.

Alongside the public consultation, the Council is also issuing a further call for sites. This is because the last call for sites did not generate enough smaller housing sites of one hectare or less to comply with national Government policy, and to ensure a wide choice of employment sites to meet the demand established in an employment land review. The Council will also issue a call for sites specifically to identify land for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople. The Council has statutory duties and an assessment is being undertaken with some initial findings indicating accommodation needs.