Warning of “fossilised” villages in Suffolk as services disappear

Coddenham is one of the "fossilised" villages according to the CLA. Picture: BARRY PULLEN

Coddenham is one of the "fossilised" villages according to the CLA. Picture: BARRY PULLEN - Credit: citizenside.com

Nearly 100 villages across Suffolk have been labelled as “fossilised” by a leading countryside organisation because they have become unsustainable as services disappear.

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer. Picture: ARCHANT

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: CLA

And the number could be higher because three of the county’s rural councils don’t believe they have any unsustainable villages in their districts!

The figures were produced by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents landowners across the country.

It said thee are 53 “fossilised” villages in Suffolk Coastal, 26 in Mid Suffolk, and 15 in Forest Heath. Babergh, St Edmundsbury, and Waveney which all have villages in their districts did not provide any data for the survey.

The CLA says building new homes in this villages is considered “unsustainable” due to a lack of services, such as post offices, GP or primary schools.

Fiona Cairns of the Suffolk Preservation Society. Picture: ARCHANT

Fiona Cairns of the Suffolk Preservation Society. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

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That means new housing is forbidden or highly restricted.

The CLA said this planning criteria is causing a shortage of affordable rural housing and that younger people are being forced to move to towns and cities.

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They encouraged local authorities to update the rules to reflect how people access services in the 21st century.

Tim Breitmeyer, CLA president, said: “Updating rural planning policy means English villages will not be trapped in analogue when the rest of the world is in the digital age.

“Just 18% of local authorities include broadband despite the range of services digital connectivity can facilitate.”

The survey shows that 99 affordable homes were built in settlements of 3,000 or fewer inhabitants in Suffolk Coastal between 2012 and 2017. A total of 285 were built in Mid Suffolk and 36 were built in Forest Heath.

Fiona Cairns from the Suffolk Preservation Society felt the survey only told part of the story – and that some small villages had remained essentially unchanged for many years anyway.

Some councils like Mid Suffolk and Babergh already need to increase the number of new homes that are being built – but many of these will go in a few larger villagers that already have services.

Mrs Cairns said: “If you look at somewhere like Thurston where 900 homes could be built, it is on the rail line and close to the A14. It is better able to sustain growth than smaller villages in the area.”

Which villages are becoming “fossilised” according to the CLA?

Suffolk Coastal: Boyton, Bromeswell, Chediston, Clopton, Cransford, Great Glemham, Cratfield, Cretingham, Falkenham, Farnham, Foxhall, Friston, Great Bealings, Heveningham, Huntingfield, Kettleburgh, Levington, Melton Park, Newbourne, Pettistree, Playford, Saxtead, Sudbourne, Sutton, Sweffling, Tuddenham St Martin, Walpole, Boulge, Brightwell, Burgh, Capel St Andrew, Cookley, Culpho, Dallinghoo, Debach, Gedgrave, Hemley, Hoo, Iken, Letheringham, Linstead Magna, Linstead Parva, Monewden, Ramsholt, Sibton, Sizewell, Sternfield, Stratton Hall, Swilland, Thorington, Ubbeston, and Wantisden.

Mid Suffolk: Bedfield, Beyton, Coddenham, Combs, Creeting St Mary, Felsham, Henley, Horham, Mellis, Mendham, Metfield, Occold, Onehouse, Palgrave, Redgrave, Ringshall, Stoke Ash, Stonham Aspal, Thorndon, Tostock, Wattisfield, Wetheringsett, Wilby, Wortham, Worlingworth, and Yaxley.

Forest Heath: Barton Mills, Elveden, Eriswell, Freckenham, Gazeley, Holywell Row, Icklingham, Moulton, Tuddenham St Mary, Worlington, Cavenham, Dalham, Herringswell, Higham, and Santon Downham.

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