The Beccles Society - News Section
Members will no doubt have noticed these metal boxes around town, usually very close to Post Boxes. These are relics of a past era when postmen went on their rounds on foot or by bicycle.
We will in the near future get in touch with the local postmaster to find out the future of the boxes...
Owners of the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Peddars Lane, Beccles
On the 3rd May 1847 a plot of land on Peddars Lane measuring 4 rods (5½ yards) was bought by 15 trustees of the Primitive Methodist ‘Society’ (under the superintendence of the Reverend William Sapcoat [1807-1872]) for the purpose of erecting a chapel or place of worship and school.
The history of the building makes very interesting reading....
Beccles Society News Sheet – March 2020
Dr. Nicholson Award
The purpose of the award is to encourage buildings of good design, imaginative ideas and quality development. Consideration is given to any development or building refurbishment within Beccles which improves or enhances the built structure of the town. We made the award to Brian Sabberton Limited for the tasteful and imaginative restoration of North House, which has been carried out to a high degree of quality. Part of this award is in recognition of the outstanding crinkle crankle wall constructed at the side of North House.
Speaker for the AGM, 8/4/20
Mike Wabe has been booked to give a talk on “Foul Murders in East Anglia” at the Sea Cadets building in Fen Lane. Please see home page for further details.
HGV Movements in Beccles
Suffolk County Council have carried out extensive traffic counts in the area and these will shortly be presented to a meeting coordinated by Peter Aldous which we attend. In the meantime, Beccles Town Council have recently agreed "To support in principle a 20mph zone for the whole of Beccles, including the installation of discreet and appropriate traffic calming measures,to support in principle the introduction of a 7.5 tonne weight restriction for Beccles Town Centre and to support the improvement of signage in relation to the Southern Relief Road."
We corresponded with Suffolk CC in connection with the following issue at the Market Street/Smallgate junction:-
"The trafﬁc lights at this location incorporate .No right turn./.No left turn signs within the head of the signal ﬁxtures, making the free standing equivalent signs superfluous and hence redundant. In the interests of protecting the Conservation Area would you please arrange for the redundant signs to be removed."
The response explained that finance was limited but they would try to remove them when carrying out work at the Station road/ Newgate junction. This did not materialise. We then wrote to Suffolk Preservation Society who publicised the problem in their Suffolk View journal. As a result of this and other steps taken, the duplicate signs and their poles have now been removed.
Quality of Place Awards
Suffolk Coastal District Council introduced their Quality of Place Awards competition back in 2010, aimed specifically at both recognising and encouraging interest in the quality of the built and natural environment within the district. This year Suffolk Coastal and Waveney finally amalgamated, forming East Suffolk Council. East Suffolk decided to extend the Quality of Place competition this year to the whole of the new District and agreed that the judging panel would include a representative from one civic society. The Beccles Society is honoured to be the first society invited onto the panel.
The contest offers four separate categories for entrants to choose from and this year saw a total of nineteen entrants, reduced in the first round of judging to ten. Each of the ten were then visited by the judges with a final result of five winners distributed over the categories plus a further two highly commended entrants. Winners received a bronze plaque and certificate while those commended received a certificate.
In our vicinity, Kirkley Place in Lowestoft and a Listening Station and Watch Room in Reydon were the Design Joint winners.
Beccles Pound is a rare building, being one of only two in Suffolk and has recently been restored following the collision of a lorry. The old booklet about the history of the Pound has been largely retyped and includes some new illustrations, though the original spelling mistakes have been retained in the interests of authenticity with the original script. A copy was presented to the mayor at a special Council Awards meeting in December, and copies are now going on sale at venues such as Beccles Museum and St Michael’s Church. It will retail at £2.00.
Commemoration Plaque Review
About 38 years ago Beccles Society placed commemoration plaques around the town. Consideration was recently given to either replacing or upgrading them, but the costs involved were outside the scope of our funds. However it was soon realised that no complete record existed of where they were or their present condition.
A new document was therefore produced, which was primarily a review of the plaques in existence and records both those erected by Beccles Society and Beccles Town/ Beccles Borough Councils.
The opportunity was also taken to include the Historic England listed properties within and around the town. The list is extensive, with six grade 1 properties and no less than 140 grade 2 buildings.
Three copies of the document were produced of which one was for the Town Council, one for Beccles and District Museum and one retained by Beccles Society. The first two were presented to both organisations at the special Council Awards meeting in December.
For the past six months I have been chairing the Neighbourhood Plan Operation Group. Following the public consultation exercise in June 2019, the draft Plan was amended to take on board the comments raised. It has since been approved by the Town Council for submission to East Suffolk Council, once we have prepared all the ancillary documents. It will subsequently go to an appointed Examiner, and if approved, there will then be a public referendum of Beccles residents.
1. An application for Morrison’s Totem Pole, which was to be located adjacent to the A146 was refused following objections from Beccles Society and the Town Council.
2. We also objected to a planning application in Hungate Court for a nursery and gun shop on the grounds of insufficient car parking, but it was subsequently approved.
3. An application for a replacement bay window with Bi-fold doors and a Juliet balcony at 19 Puddingmoor was refused following objections from Beccles Society and 8 others with the chief reason being that it was incompatible with the aims of protecting the Conservation Area.
4. Ingate Iron Works The demolition contractor caused consternation among local residents when removing asbestos from this site. The roof of each building was dropped, apparently without it being water sprayed which could possibly allow asbestos dust to blow around the site. We sent several emails to East Suffolk Planners regarding this unsatisfactory situation.
Paul Fletcher, Chairman.
Market Street Signs
Redundant road traffic signs have at last been removed from Market Street and Smallgate at the Public Hall corner.
A bit of background - The corner was fitted with new traffic- light heads quite some time ago; the new sets of lights incorporate illuminating no right turn or no left turn signs, making the stand alone road signs and their posts redundant. As such these signs now became ‘street clutter’ and we and other agencies requested them to be removed.
As a spinoff to the Lidl supermarket development, the footway fronting the Pound has been widened. This has helped to make the Pound more prominent – and hopefully more appreciated.
A bit of background at this point will not come amiss.
" What we do not appreciate in the recent work is the placing of concrete bollards close to the building.
To our minds the bollards need to be at the edge of the footway, protecting not only the pound but also the pedestrians on this narrow and tight corner.
Or alternatively be removed altogether.
QUALITY of PLACE AWARDS 2019
This year Suffolk Coastal and Waveney finally amalgamated, forming East Suffolk Council.
East Suffolk made the far sighted decision to extend the Quality of Place competition throughout the new council area. The decision is justified by this years applications which saw a large number right across the East Suffolk area.
A second change this year is for the judging panel to include a representative from one civic society. The Beccles Society is honoured to be the first society invited onto the panel. We welcomed the opportunity to represent our society at what has become a prestigious event attracting very high quality entrants. Bob Aris represented the Beccles Society who before retiring spent twenty five years in the offshore design and construction industry.
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.
Effects Of The Beccles Relief Road
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Several members of our Executive Committee were able to throw some light on this matter, and it is reported here for interest purposes.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.