Below you will find the comments of the Subury Society Planning Group as submitted to the planning authorities.
B/14/00804/FUL Land East of Carsons Drive Great Cornard
We were not given the opportunity to see the proposals which formed the subject of the Appeal, although we did see and comment on earlier versions. Although outside the Sudbury Town Council area it does concern the setting of Abbas Hall which is a significant local heritage asset and therefore of concern to us.
We take assurance from the supplementary report of Professor Tom Williamson in which he states that his earlier concerns about the damaging impact of the development on the setting and isolation of Abbas Hall have been addressed.
From the plans it is difficult to believe that the strictures of the Appeal inspector regarding the lack of sense of place and enclosure have been properly addressed. It is still our view that it is difficult to achieve this when detached and semi detached houses take precedence over terraces which can contribute more effectively to placemaking as our rich building heritage demonstrates. Furthermore there is little of the Suffolk tradition of lower eaves lines, with roofs here predictably and boringly perched on top of banal facades. Ridge lines could have been lower had the roof volume been incorporated into living space. There is ample evidence of good and imaginative current house design which these proposals might have taken account of, and made them a more positive contribution to our continuing built heritage.
We welcome the incorporation of play areas into the scheme although we still hold that the old tradition of play within sight of informal supervision from nearby houses is better than dedicated areas; (what is the evidence for their use in practice?). We also welcome the landscape treatment of the central pathway.
It is important that the historic track is not upgraded and loses its character. We would note that the right of way finishes some distance short of Abbas Hall. Although outside the development there may well be greater use of this route in future and clear signing would be helpful.
We are still concerned about the future of C732 which leads from Sheepshead Hill to a junction with the A134. It is accepted that this will become an important route and an improved junction with the A134.is mentioned. This lane is narrow and in part sunken attractively (a local heritage asset in its own right). What effective and safeguarded protection will be in place to prevent its gradual degredation in the interests of vehicle movement?
38 Market Hill, St Leonard’s and Walnuttree
B/14/00543/LBC 38 Market Hill (corner of Market Hill and Station Road)
We supported this proposal earlier and particularly welcomed the provision of 4 residential units within the town centre. We have no adverse comments on the revised staircase layout in the Station Road block which makes for a more workable ground floor.
In terms of external finishes we wish to see the brickwork, which has been badly repointed in part, fully repointed in lime mortar. If it were possible to retain a fragment of the lettering it would serve as a memory of the building’s past. External painting of frames should be in grey/green or similar, certainly not white.
B/14/00585/FUL St Leonards Hospital, Newton Road
We viewed earlier proposals and supported the proposal, now maintained , to reduce the use of Burroughs Piece/Belle Vue Road to just three new dwellings, bringing reduced traffic with the hospital traffic eliminated.
We are pleased to see the retention of the original building and its conversion to attractive dwellings. We are less happy about the new dwellings which seem bland and lacking in character with no reference to the strong external treatment of the retained building, or to the town’s rich heritage. There seems to be a lot of space dedicated to car use and we wondered why the dwellings down to Newton Road could not have been in the form of a stepped terrace, making a stronger visual impact as seen from the road.
We are concerned about the apparent lack of projection of the impact of traffic entering/leaving Newton Road. Future and related nearby developments include the ex tax office site, the BT site and the Belle Vue complex, as well as the possible reconfiguration of the traffic intersection. The lack of a continuous pavement on the Belle Vue side has been commented on by people staying at the hotel further up this road.
B/14/00499/FUL Walnuttree Hospital
There are two negative aspects to these proposals, the omission of the development of the outpatients building, Blocks B and C, for community use, and the lack of affordable housing. These, we appreciate, may be the financial consequences of retaining and converting the historic building which is of primary importance. Building B does still house the vagrants’ cells in their basic condition. These will now be lost but a comprehensive visual and historical record should be made and incorporated in the Museum Trust’s archive.
We question why the new blocks should comprise 3 storeys with a roof on top. A revised section which incorporated the roof space in the top floor would lower the ridge line and improve the views of the historic building from the meadows, and in the reverse direction from the top floors of the spine block.
When the proposals went on public display it was evident that much thought had gone into the landscaping of the courtyards. We were assured that they would be an integral element in the planning application. We would like confirmation that this will be conditioned since they will be an important and attractive element and should not be left to the risk of being the victim of the developer’s cost savings. The courtyard to Blocks B and C should be landscaped to a similar standard within the application.
It would seem sensible to withdraw the application while the issues we raise of the section of the new terraces and the landscaping are resolved.
Kentish Lodge, Chestnut Mews
B/13/01466/FUL New dwelling on land to rear of Kentish Lodge Stour Street
Kentish Lodge is Locally Listed and is a fine robust building dating from around 1870.
There is ample land at the rear to accommodate a substantial new dwelling with associated garages for new and existing dwellings. This is a fine site, screened from the road but with the potential to command views over the meadows. What we are presented with is a pallid “Victorian” pastiche, with upvc windows for goodness sake. The plan makes no effort to exploit the site and could just as well be located fronting a road with reception rooms to the front and service spaces to the back which here are facing west.
A good modern architect would make something special out of this opportunity, adding to the town’s heritage, and we strongly recommend that one be appointed and the present application be withdrawn.
B/14/00576/FHA 3 Chestnut Mews, off Friars Street replacement upvc windows
This is an attractive residential development of 4 houses which received a Commendation in the Sudbury Society’s 2006 Alan Phillips Awards. It will probably be incorporated in the updated Local List for its group value. We see no reason for replacing the existing timber windows in one house.
Grace Baptist Church, the Tarantella (Sudbury Hall)
B/14/00229/FUL Grace Baptist Church New Street. We oppose the proposals to replace the original timber vertically sliding sash windows with upvc versions. The building, dating from 1858, is on the Sudbury Local List, adopted by Babergh District Council, 14 September 2004. It is also featured in the Society’s publication Sudbury Suffolk-the unlisted heritage. It is also within the Conservation Area The windows are finely detailed and with their brick reveals a striking feature of the building. They could not be satisfactorily replaced with timber windows and certainly not with upvc equivalents without seriously diminishing the building’s character. It is a heritage asset and NPPF 131 is relevant. There are firms who would overhaul the windows and add weatherstripping which would be at least as thermally effective as thin double glazing, although secondary glazing could be considered in addition provided the glazing section were slender. B/14/00379/FUL Sudbury Hall Melford Road. This building is similarly Locally Listed and featured although it is outside the Conservation Area. The Main House was built in 1840, the additions date from 1973. It has lain derelict since being seriously damaged by fire in 2008, and by subsequent vandalism. We are very pleased to see these proposals to restore it and convert it to provide 12 residential apartments. We understanding this change of use from a hotel and restaurant has been agreed. We feel the restoration of the building and conversion has been well handled with retention of the main entrance and consistent traditional window treatment throughout both the original house and the later additions. We are particularly pleased to note the cupola reinstated to the new slate roof and used to let daylight into the top landing. Perhaps inevitably the quality of daylight to the lower ground floor apartments is quite poor in places, such as the kitchen areas to the living rooms and the internal passages. Accessibility should be seriously considered at detail design stage despite this being an existing building. Level door thresholds are welcome as a safety feature but occupants should be able to grow older and less able and still manage. Details such as space to approach and open doors towards one should be considered, also bathroom and kitchen layouts and selection of fittings.
B/14/0072/FUL 10-12 CORNARD ROAD
This proposal to change the use of this building to 8 bedrooms with limited shared communal facilities may meet an established local need for residential accommodation of this nature and should be welcomed but there is no supporting statement clarifying this.
B/13/01221/LBC The Anchor Friars Street Existing Sign
We have consistently opposed the removal of this sign and this proposed compromise – to retain the bracket for use with the new sign, with the original being donated to either the Sudbury Society or the Town Council – is unacceptable. The Society does not have any property and in the case of the Town Council if the sign could be placed in the cellar, there most likely it would remain, an unseen relic. The sign is a striking and much loved feature of the street scene and should remain attached to this building, which will be diminished by its removal.
B/13/01102/ADV A-boards at junction Addison Road/Northern Road
We question the value of these boards, the safety hazard since they are right at the junction, and the tattiness of such boards on green space. More expensive but more effective would be well designed fixed signs either side of Northern Road and ahead of the junction.
B/13/01432/FUL Footbridge and shed at Eden Rose Coppice
We fully support this application to retain these structures. We would like to know the background to the requirement for a full planning application, involving this valuable small social enterprise in planning and agent’s fees. Was pressure applied and by whom?
B/13/01525/FHA 18 Manor Road single storey extensions
We fully support these proposals to improve this minimal house with its poorly designed entrance and cramped spaces. In cases like these it would help to have the applicants’ explanation of how they arrived at the solution submitted. Perhaps applicants could be encouraged to do this. Given the minimal sizes of current developers’ houses we shall be seeing more of such proposals.
B/13/01439/ADV 12 North Street Sports Direct
We are pleased to see firm proposals to instal non illuminated fascia signage. The effect is still brash and it would better if the background were not bright white. Unfortunately the projecting fascia is a previous intervention. The continuous “sale” display in the shop windows helps to give the street a negative image. Perhaps the Town Council in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce might seek to persuade Sports Direct to adopt instead attractive displays of their wide range of products.
B/13/01452/FHA 60 Queens Road extension. We support this proposal but wish to see impermeable surfacing laid and maintained, and not extended, as a condition of approval.
B/13/01457/FHA Waggon and Horses. We are very pleased to see the revival of this pub and the attractive refurbishment, along with the further work described in this application. We would echo the Town Council’s concern over noise from events causing problems for nearby residents. The proposals seem to have taken this into account. What uses are planned for the upper floor of the barn? There is no staircase and shutters to the windows (apart from the gable one) implies some noise here also.
We are pleased to see access to the present disabled toilet now made accessible. The handrinse basin should remain usable from a seated position on the wc as at present.
Properties on Friars Street, Market Hill, Queens Close, Belle Vue Rd, School Street
B/13/01229/LBC 35 Friars Street
We note that an application was made on 11 09 2013 for change of use from office to residential use but that it has not yet been decided. Work was well under way when this application was made and it seems rather late in the day to check out what alterations were planned to this listed building. We are concerned that the owners appear to have decided how to deal with the historic features without benefit of any conservation advice. We trust this will be remedied before consent is given. We are concerned at the intention to renew all the existing windows on the basis that they have deteriorated beyond repair. The existing ones to the front elevation will be impossible to reproduce satisfactorily and some of the building’s unique features could be lost. There are joiners who would be able to restore them without altering their appearance, of both frames and glazing, probably able also to add internal weatherstripping. Work on unique listed buildings often requires careful intervention rather than replacement.
B/13/01349/FUL 25 Market Hill change of use A1 to A2
A pity to lose retail space in favour of professional and financial services; since the latter can include betting and Wonga type outlets we hope any applications will be vetted carefully.
B/13/01350/FUL New house adjacent to Dunedin, Queens Close
We assume the larger development proposals have been abandoned. We are sad to see yet another uninspired “traditional” design when a more modern approach would have exploited the dramatic site slope more imaginatively.
B/13/01387/FHA Homeland 13, Belle Vue Road
The proposal is to transform this attractive and modest locally listed house into something altogether grander. We are pleased to see retention of the delightful garden frontage and more sensible relocation of the entrance but we feel the rather heavy handed Victorian treatment does not respect the original and again we suggest that a lighter touch modern design would have been more appropriate.
B/13/00678/FHA 14 School Street
We note that the owner is appealing against refusal the application to instal upvc replacement windows. We support of course rejection of the appeal but we note that the grounds for appeal are that such windows have been installed a few doors up in the same terrace. You will need to justify lack of action on this earlier example. We noted this in our comments on the original application
Brundon Lane/Bulmer Road Housing
B/1300917/OUT Brundon Lane/Bulmer Road Housing Development
We see no reason to significantly amend our response submitted on 6 September 2013 but have commented on some of the points raised by the Town Council in rejecting the application
Affordable housing – this is the standard developers’ response, that their inclusion makes their proposal uneconomic. Their case needs to be convincingly refuted.
Play area – now provided but needs a second access point to supplement the one in the far corner. We question such distant provision which requires parents to ensure their children are accompanied and supervised. Play facilities overlooked by parents and neighbours would seem a better solution but it would be a radical one with its effect on street and communal space design.
Highways etc – site lines have been amended presumably to satisfy Highways. The pavements are no narrower than others in the vicinity. It is not reasonable to hold up development of this derelict and unsightly site until the oil and waste disposal sites are relocated – this is for Babergh (and Suffolk?) to resolve within a realistic time scale.
We do not understand the overshadowing comment but it would one assumes be aggravated by setting back from Bulmer Road unless the development is reduced in scale – at the risk of it becoming uneconomic.
Bins – this concern of ours does not seem to have been satisfactorily resolved. Are the bin stores indicated to accommodate residents’ wheelie bins? They should be accommodated neatly and unobtrusively at each dwelling.
14 School Street
B/13/00678/FHA 14 School Street
This application for replacement windows is being made because the terrace is protected by an Article 4(2) Direction. The application in its present form, for upvc windows, should be refused. We feel that despite the Direction this terrace has not been managed well. No 18 has upvc windows and the upgraded timber windows are of excessively large sections. Fortunately the original front doors have not been replaced by pseudo Georgian versions.
There is a wider issue here since there now are few intact terraces remaining. We have expressed concern about the future of the one in Church Street and a few days ago the middle house of the short terrace in Acton Square, 8,9,10, had upvc windows fitted, plus the front door. Perhaps you should look at this one and consider whether this Direction should be extended to all domestic properties in the Conservation Area to prevent further damage to the town’s heritage.