Clare Town Council is one of two statutory bodies that St Edmundsbury Borough Council must consult on planning matters within the parish and immediate environs; the other is the Clare Society.
Planning has changed rapidly over the last decade. There is now a positive presumption in favour of development, brought forward by central government and now adopted by local government, incorporated into planning law.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council sets the long term planning and land use policies within the Borough. Their plans may be viewed on their website (under the name of West Suffolk in which Forest Heath & St Edmundsbury share facilities) where there is a wealth of planning advice on other pages. Some of their most useful documents are:
- Rural Vision 2015 planning framework for the future
- Development Management Policies 2015 + Local Plan Policies Maps background to planning decisions
There are advisory leaflets for owners of listed buildings and older properties:
- Listed buildings
- Maintenance of historic & listed buildings
- Windows in historic buildings
- Colours & Finishes for Historic Buildings
- Damp in old buildings: Why buildings need to breathe
Local management of planning
The consideration of planning applications in Clare either takes place in public at the monthly Town Council meeting or one that may be specially convened. Individual councillors should not be approached with regard to a specific application outside these meetings. The final decision on any planning issue is taken at borough level.
Immediate neighbours to a planning application will usually receive notice direct from SEBC. A notice will be displayed nearby. All applications are available to view on West Suffolk planning lists. Some applications have to be more widely advertised: SEBC uses the Friday edition of EADT (East Anglian Daily Times). Each application on the West Suffolk site holds the details of each application, plus comments & objections (both from individuals and statutory bodies such as Suffolk Highways or the Environment Agency). We have a page on Planning Outcomes which may provide more details of the process.
Clare’s historic townscape – we’re proud of Clare
Clare itself has a conservation area in the heart of the town: see the map. There are 185 separate premises listed by Historic England. Pre-application advice is a good way of getting feedback on building proposals, particularly if the building is listed. It can increase the chances of submitting a successful planning application.
A planning working party of councillors is held from time to time to examine long term developments and issues unique to Clare. The Town Council has taken up Article 4 Direction with respect to the Conservation Area. Restrictions are now in place with respect of permitted development of the frontages of non-listed buildings; restrictions on solar equipment installations will be in place on 1st October 2016. Planning permission is required for all such development; there is no fee for such applications. St Edmundsbury Borough Council has issued explanatory material to all residents and held a drop-in session on Tuesday 23 August in the Town Hall. The consultation was closed on Friday 9 September 2016.
Any work on trees in a conservation area is subject to a planning permission application; no fee is required.
If in doubt on a planning issue, seek advice. Architects and builders outside of the St Edmundsbury area may not be familiar with constraints within the local plans.