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Tackling the housing crisis in Suffolk coastal villages

PUBLISHED: 12:43 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:43 08 March 2018

Some of the  trustees of the Peninsula Villages Community Land Trust, from the five parishes of the Wilford peninsula in east Suffolk.
Left to right, Peter Widdup, Christine Block, Gerry Bathe, James Mallinder, Clare Walker, Andy Palmer and Andrew Block.

Some of the trustees of the Peninsula Villages Community Land Trust, from the five parishes of the Wilford peninsula in east Suffolk. Left to right, Peter Widdup, Christine Block, Gerry Bathe, James Mallinder, Clare Walker, Andy Palmer and Andrew Block.

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New community initiative to help solve coastal Suffolk housing crisis.

The National Trust visitor centre at Sutton Hoo is now a big attraction for tourists.
It is becoming more difficult for local people to find homes in Sutton and the neighbouring villages. The National Trust visitor centre at Sutton Hoo is now a big attraction for tourists. It is becoming more difficult for local people to find homes in Sutton and the neighbouring villages.

People in parishes on the Wilford peninsula, east of Woodbridge, are getting together to try and tackle the coastal housing crisis.

A shortage of new building, combined with high property prices, holiday lets and the number of second homes, has made new homes unaffordable to many local people.

There is a shortage of homes to buy and to rent.

So now a new initiative is being tried, a community trust.

Local district councillor Christine Block, from Bawdsey, said: “Suffolk is a popular place to visit, which is good for local businesses, but it is a two-edged sword. Many local people can not afford to live here and have to move away.

“When some older people die, or leave, it often goes to second home accommodation.

“A lot of people who move away struggled to come back. And older people who want to downsize find it difficult to find somewhere.

“There is a need for more affordable homes.

“We are so happy and excited about this new community land trust, and we might be able to do something about local housing need.

The villages of Alderton, Bawdsey, Boyton, Hollesley, Shottisham and Sutton are planning to set up the Peninsula Villages Community Land Trust (PVCLT) – a not-for-profit organisation which will work with communities, landowners, housing associations,

developers and the local authority to improve the availability of affordable homes in the area.

The group, run by volunteer trustees, aims to identify sites suitable for building permanently affordable housing for rent; once built they will remain owned by the community.

A spokesman from the PVCLT said: “The Wilford Peninsula is a beautiful place to live, attractive to visitors and surrounded by unspoiled natural habitats and national heritage sites.

“The total turnover of businesses on the peninsula is approximately £30 million with two thirds attributed to farm production and the remaining £10 million attributed to businesses such as pubs, cafes, campsites, holiday lets and village shops.

“The problem is, however, that many of the people who work here find the lack of suitable accommodation and house prices a barrier to living here – and local people who want to stay here are put off setting up businesses in the area for the same reason. Equally, some senior members of our community may want to move out of from their large houses but are unable to find something smaller which allows them to go on living in the area that they have made their home.

“We want to see an allocations policy which will ensure priority is given to individuals who have a strong personal link to the peninsula.”

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for housing, Richard Kerry said: “Providing much-needed homes,

particularly affordable housing, is one of Suffolk Coastal’s key priorities. So we welcome this positive development on the Wilford Peninsula.”

Once established the trust will invite anyone, over the age of 18, who live or works within the six parishes to become involved in the project.

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