The Beccles Society - News Section

Road Works By Suffolk CC In A Conservation Area in Beccles - Concerns Of Beccles Society

Recently Paul Fletcher has had some correspondence with the Suffolk Preservation Society and East Suffolk Conservation Officer regarding road works by Suffolk County Council in a conservation area in the Beccles area and the concerns of the Beccles Society.
You can read extracts of the correspondence here.

Read Extracts Here: -

Effects Of The Beccles Relief Road

Dear Members,
On 4th March 2019, John Sayer and I attended a meeting chaired by Peter Aldous MP to review the effects of opening the Beccles Relief Road. Present were County Councillors Mark Bee, and Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, together with representatives of Suffolk Highways Dept., Parish Councillors from Weston, Ringsfield and Ilketshall St.Andrew, Beccles Road Safety Group and Beccles Society. This is a summary of the meeting, following the agenda:

Read More Here: -

Beccles Neighbourhood Plan Update

The Beccles Neighbourhood Plan has reached its third draft and it is hoped to finalise it shortly. As might be expected much space is given over to the proposed large scale development to the south of the town and the effects this will have on the existing town. These effects include Healthcare facilities and schooling, but mainly on the town’s already crowded and fragile road infrastructure.

The section on the town’s built environment – conservation area, listed buildings and the like is very comprehensive and lays out present difficulties and proposals for the future with great clarity. I am sure the society will be able to give this part of the overall document its full support.

A number of older buildings in Beccles display a strong Dutch influence, typically the gable built in Flemish bond brickwork. This example of the Dutch or Flemish style gable can be seen in Newgate. One of the objectives of the Beccles neighbourhood plan is to preserve the distinctive and special character of the town, and of its built heritage.

Closed Footpath

A footpath – or more correctly a flight of steps which go from Puddingmoor up to Ballygate has been closed for the best part of a year due to the collapse of a retaining wall. As there seemed to be little activity getting the wall rebuilt, we felt a little nudge was needed asking for a state of play report and an indication of when the path would be reopened.

Suffolk CC highways confirmed the path was their responsibility and as matters appeared to have stalled it has been referred to the County Council’s legal department in the hope (and our expectation) that the situation can be brought to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion. Our little prompt was well worthwhile.

Green Is The New Blue

Around town there are many blue plaques recording the history of a building or of an important person associated with it. Our blue plaques are in fact green, yet if we referred to them as green plaques many people would have no idea what we were talking about - yet 'blue plaque' is readily understood. Many are still in excellent condition whilst others have faded badly after their fifteen or more years’ service. We considered replacing some, but the cost implications and with little chance of a grant the idea has to be, for the time being at least, shelved.

In addition we are working on producing a booklet describing all the plaque locations, and where relevant giving a potted history of its background. We hope to publish this soon.

Problems of HGV's In Beccles

We recently held a meeting with Peter Aldous on the problems of HGV's in Beccles.
The notes from that meeting can be read below.

Download Meeting Notes Here -

An Article On The Rich

David Lindley has written a very informative article on the rich which we think makes very interesting reading. As you will discover it was rather dangerous being an aristocrat, especially a Duke during the 15th century. The history of the family of the Dukes of Suffolk is an extreme example;

William de la Pole was created Duke of Suffolk, his grandfather was forced to flee the country and died in France, his father died of dysentery at Harfleur on the way to the Battle of Agincourt, of his brothers, the eldest son Michael was killed at the Battle of Agincourt, Alexander was killed in the Battle of Jargeau, John died as a prisoner of the French, Thomas died in France as a hostage.

Read the full article here

St Benets School

In late 2017 a planning application was submitted which proposed the replacement of all windows within the two school buildings with plastic frames. There was little doubt that within the main building of St. Benets School, the existing windows were in a very poor condition and in urgent need of repair or replacement. Yet within the smaller, Early Years building replacing the windows with plastic would be inappropriate.

Read More Here

Station Road Update

Suffolk County Council Highways Department were contacted about changing the signpost in Station Road from grey to black to conform with the requirements of the Conservation Area. This was their reply:-

We apologise for the lack of clarity and advice with regard to the replacement posts and signs, the guidance that we are currently working with is that we are replacing like for like. Therefore if the post was galvanised and not black then that is what is replaced. This is the same with the backs of signs. Therefore if a black post is removed a black post will replace it.

We replied as follows:-
According to your policy there is no possible way that this existing post can ever be changed to a black one in a Conservation area if the "like for like" replacement policy is adhered to.
As this is clearly unreasonable we would ask you to arrange for the signpost to be replaced as a priority and for a more positive attitude to be exercised in connection with sensible suggestions from the public.(subject to funding).

We subsequently received a telephone call saying that the post would be painted black shortly.

This is only a small victory as there are many grey signposts elsewhere in the Conservation Area which would require replacing in black in due course.

Paul Fletcher/ Richard Bellefontaine

Supplementary Note Sent To The Inspector Of The Local Plan Examination In Public

Supplementary Note explaining photos and adding comments going to be presented to October 31 st Meeting (Matter 11) as mentioned on October 17th (Matter 7)

  • 1. Photo 1 is taken on London Road on the approach to the traffic signals at Peddars Lane
  • 2. Photo 2 is Peddars Lane on its approach to the traffic signals at London Road.
  • 3. Photo 3 is Ingate on its approach to Peddars Lane traffic signals
  • 4. Photo 4 is Frederick’s Road on its approach London Road
  • 5. Photo 5 shows queuing on the A143 (Norwich Road) on its approach to the roundabout A143/ A146 junction ( McDonalds roundabout).
  • 6. Photo 6 is the same location on the A143 as photo 5 showing the queue approaching the roundabout.

The queues shown do not last for the whole of the peak hour, but nevertheless can delay traffic for considerable periods of time, and would certainly become extended in time once WLP3.1 and WLP3.2 are developed.

In their planning submission, Hopkins Homes state that Suffolk CC have informed them that they do not need to model traffic issues since the Suffolk CC model shows no problems. The same comment is likely to be made to the developers of WLP3.1.

Larkfleet in an earlier proposal – DC/17/0156/SCO had proposed 975 houses on part of WLP3.1 with all access off Ellough Road. At this stage they used PICADY and ARCADY to assess priority junctions and roundabouts respectively. They also used LINSIG analysis to look at traffic signal junctions.These studies demonstrated that widening on several entry points to two roundabouts on the A146 (A145/B1127 and A146/A145 junctions) would be required, together with signal timing alterations using MOVA at the London Road/ Peddars Way/ St Mary’s Road junction.

The above scheme for 975 houses has now been superseded by the proposal to construct 1530 houses in Beccles (1250 and 280) but now even more so is the likelihood that the original Larkfleet highway modifications would be necessary.

The Suffolk CC model appears to require queuing traffic to be present for a period in the order of at least 30 minutes before it is classed as congested.

The Suffolk CC model appears to require queuing traffic to be present for a period in the order of at least 30 minutes before it is classed as congested.

However, rather than debate the merits or otherwise of the Suffolk CC traffic model would it not be reasonable to ask prospective developers of site WLP3.1 to carry out ARCADY and PICADY assessments and a LINSIG analysis of critical junctions. This requirement could be added to Policy WLP3.1 either amplifying the wording of Transport Assessment (page 98) or replacing it.

Paul Fletcher
Chairman Beccles Societ

Beccles Society Update

Please scroll using the arrows to read the full update or feel free to download the pdf version here.

Download Full Update Here -

Please Note: A shorter version of this News Update has been posted on several Notice Boards around the town for the benefit of members who do not have access to a computer. One location in particular is on Smallgate directly opposite the GPO Sorting Office.

Welcome To Beccles

Signage on the corner of George Westwood Way and Common Lane North.

Signage on the corner of George Westwood Way and Common Lane North. This corner is a ‘Gateway’ into town for visitors and tourists and we feel that in its present condition the sign is not showing the town in the best of lights or particularly welcoming. The good news is that the sign will hopefully be replaced with the coming of Lidl which will offer a much more attractive background. This corner is a ‘Gateway’ into town for visitors and tourists and we feel that in its present condition the sign is not showing the town in the best of lights or particularly welcoming. The good news is that the sign will hopefully be replaced with the coming of Lidl which will offer a much more attractive background.

Know Your Town

The large plane tree – where is it?


Beccles Skate Park

At the January 2017 meeting of Beccles Society Executive Committee, Nik Rose and Ashley Lever were invited to make a presentation in respect of the Beccles Skate Park. They had raised £50,000 over the past 2 years to replace the existing structure with a new improved version.

The presentation took place on 1st February 2017

Read More Here

Beccles Lido

Paul Fletcher, Chairman, said that Beccles Society was very pleased to be able to donate £250 to the Lido in support of its campaign to raise £110,000 to provide a new modern toilet block and changing facility on 5th June 2017.

Read More Here

Beccles Public Hall

The group of volunteers have worked tirelessly to achieve a high standard and quality of workmanship in renovating this important building in Beccles.

Beccles Society, who are interested in the preservation of the architectural heritage of the town, were therefore very pleased to support the Public Hall’s latest appeal with a donation of £200 on Thursday 16th March 2017.

St Mary's Meadow

We recently received the following enquiry from Beccles and District Historical Society

One of our committee members has said that about 10 years ago there was a plaque/notice in St Mary’s Meadow giving the interesting history of the Meadow (once a leper colony), St Mary’s house (residence, hospital etc) and the London Plane Tree circa 230 years old and one of the best in Suffolk. The notice then disappeared.
He mentioned it to the Beccles Society some time ago that it should be replaced.
Barry Darch.

Several members of our Executive Committee were able to throw some light on this matter, and it is reported here for interest purposes.

Their comments are as follows

Station Road

The original sign on this site was damaged it is believed by a road traffic incident.

It raises a couple of interesting points – the most obviously being when replacing the sign why was the opportunity not taken to site the post at the back of the footway? Its present position presents an obstruction for pedestrians and as such can be classified as street clutter. An opportunity has been missed to enhance this part of our conservation area.

Read More Here

Ingate / Grove Road Yellow Lines

The yellow traffic regulation lines in Ingate between the level crossing and the Grove Road junction - near the Ingate public house, have been laid in 100mm width, rather than the appropriate 50mm width specified for use within a conservation area.

Read More Here

Further News

Following our complaint Richard Bellefontaine received the following response.

Grove Road West

A little bit more on our Yellow lining saga

How Well Do You Know Beccles

This building is on a busy road somewhere in Beccles. Do you know where it is and what is the significance of the initials carved in the brickwork?

Richard Bellefontaine is checking if it is listed – but we believe it is not, but should it be listed as a non-designated heritage asset?

An Eyesore

The seating area outside The Kings Head - Newmarket

Footway Improvements Along Hungate

Thanks to the persistent efforts of member Cllr. Jeff Harris essential improvements have been made and which therefore enhance the area. Recent highway work in Hungate has seen the very narrow path widened. It is now wide enough for it to be used by a buggy and for two people to pass without one being forced into the carriageway.

Read More Here

New Local Plan

The Waveney District Council has currently carried out public consultations on a new Local Plan. The deadline for comments was September 2017. The Beccles Society has made representation to the Waveney District Council expressing our views on the council proposals.

The new Local Plan will have far reaching effects upon the whole of Waveney for many years to come and our comments were shown in our Autumn Newsletter.
In January this year (2018) we met the consultants who are preparing the next stage of the Local Plan as it relates to the "Garden Village" proposals adjacent to the Southern Relief Road where approximately 1200 to 1300 houses are being considered.

We are currently actively involved in helping to produce "The Beccles Neighbourhood Plan" which will work in conjunction with the Local Plan.

Read Our Comments Here