Annual awards recognise the best in design and conservation in East Suffolk

The winners of an annual awards programme celebrating building design and conservation projects in East Suffolk have been announced. 

East Suffolk Council’s ‘Quality of Place Awards’ recognise efforts to conserve historic buildings and enhance the built and natural environment through high-quality design.  

Nominations were judged on quality of design and detailing, quality of workmanship, use of materials and sustainability.

The winners were revealed during a virtual awards ceremony on February 4.

Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council cabinet member for Planning and Coastal Management said:  “This was the third time I’ve been involved in the Quality of Place Awards and it is one of the high points of my year as a councillor.

“As always, we received high quality entries, with the design category being the most hotly contested, and we also had a new green commendation. 

“The winning schemes comprise designs which benefit the community, conserve buildings of local or historic interest, and are rich in architectural originality.” 

Community Award

For any built or natural environment project designed to benefit the community in which it was built. Judges look at community engagement with the project and the public benefits of the scheme.


10 Church Street, Framlingham

The renovation and improvement of this tired property included the innovative provision of useful studios, available to local artists and other creatives on single or collaborative basis, and on flexible terms.  

From the start, the architects who bought the property engaged with the local community on potential uses for the building and needs that could be fulfilled, and they continue to do so in the next phase of the project – the acquisition of the adjacent assembly hall.

A new and successful café has been introduced, and a suite of ground floor offices is occupied by the Town Council, allowing easy public access. 

Elsewhere in the building, ‘Outreach’ space has been created, where, under youth worker supervision, young people can congregate. 

At the rear of the property, new public lavatories have even been provided.

Highly Commended 

Friends of Parklands Wood, Ufford

Judges were impressed, not only by the wood’s centrepiece Redwood Carving, but by the involvement and dedication of the local community to the management and enhancement of the wood to the benefit of many living locally.

Acquired by Ufford Parish Council in 2014, there seemed to have been continuous community involvement thereafter.  

With the help of numerous volunteers, the council is implementing a long-term vision for the woodland, with a management plan agreed by the Forestry Commission and further guidance from the Woodland Trust. 

Volunteers are trained by, and work with professional tree surgeons, and form regular working parties to carry out management of the trees; planting new trees and controlling the undergrowth, all with the aim of enhancing the environment and encouraging wildlife and birds. 

Building Conservation

For projects involving buildings of local or historic interest, where repairs have been undertaken with particular attention to the quality of conservation, seen in terms of either the materials or the buildings themselves. 

These projects should help to conserve and enhance both the essential character of the historic buildings and their settings. 

Judges consider the extent to which problems have been overcome, the inventiveness of the approach and whether the project has provided a new lease of life for a previously redundant or neglected building.


10 Church Street, Framlingham

Minstrel Cottage, Cumberland Street

Ridley House, Felixstowe (Highly Commended)

This substantial Italianate-style villa, overlooking the seafront, had had a complete overhaul, including replacement windows, new roofing, balustrading, internal flooring, wall coverings, heating, lighting, electrics and landscaping, turning what had been a slightly run-down domestic adaptation of a former school boarding house into a comfortable home by the sea. 

Judges came to the conclusion that the project had saved an important building, and although great care had been taken by architect and owner to source appropriate materials, felt it had not sufficiently fulfilled the criteria to win the top award. 


For new buildings or extensions. Judges consider originality of design, overall architectural effect, and the building’s relationship to its context.


The Glasshouse, Aldeburgh Road, Aldringham (Craig Beech Architects)

A new house of strikingly contemporary, almost Miesian, architectural design, which replaced an existing bungalow on the site of a former sand quarry. 

The new building has been carefully aligned with the eaves and ridge heights of neighbouring bungalows, so as not to look too high or out of place. 

Architecturally, the design makes extensive use of glass, with a long-span, high-ceilinged steel frame structure, a clerestory and a floating flat roof. 

The green energy credentials of the house include combining a heat pump, an attractive looking array of photovoltaic panels and storage batteries into a smart integrated system.  

•The Glasshouse was awarded the new Green Commendation, given to a project which most effectively addresses environmental and sustainability issues through its design or management. 

Highly Commended

Cross Barn, Wentworth Road, Aldeburgh (Craig Beech Architects)

This project involved alterations and extensions to an existing building in the Aldeburgh Conservation Area. 

The building originally stored casks of beer for the nearby pub, before being converted into a cramped cottage.

The present owners and their architects imaginatively remodelled the building by raising its roof and extending it to the rear. 

The front door and staircase have been moved and the internal spaces completely replanned.  

The scheme is a successful architectural intervention which has given added visual interest to the building and to the street scene.  

Highly Commended

Garden Room Annexe, Westwood, Walberswick (Brian Haward)

Occupying a triangular site in the Walberswick Conservation Area, Westwood has a well-known arts and crafts garden, designed by Winter Rose around 1910, much admired by Gertrude Jekyll, and also known for its historic connections with Tradescant planting.  

The annex project involved building a separate single storey guest wing on an area of land adjacent to the original garden, and previously occupied by a 1970s bungalow.

The bold and contemporary architectural design successfully addresses its context in various ways, notably by sinking the building into the ground to maintain a low profile and preserve views of the church, by means of a sedum flat roof, and by discreetly tucking the building behind a blind garden wall planted with climbing hydrangeas and fronting onto a gravel garden.


Orchard Cottage, Dallinghoo

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