Affordable homes fear at Felixstowe site

A MULTI-million pound project in Felixstowe will not answer a desperate need for affordable homes.Councillor Mike Ninnmey today claimed the razing of current housing to make way for the scheme will almost cancel out provision on the new site.

A MULTI-million pound project in Felixstowe will not answer a desperate need for affordable homes.

Councillor Mike Ninnmey today claimed the razing of current housing to make way for the scheme will almost cancel out provision on the new site.

His calculations show six homes, a property used as offices with housing potential and three large flats in the Herman de Stern centre will all be lost.

Of the 209 houses to be built as part of the 17-acre south seafront development, just 22 of them will be social housing – and it is not yet clear if these will be for people on the waiting list or simply cheaper homes.

Mr Ninnmey said: "That's a gain of 12. When we go deeper into this and look at the actual number of bedrooms being lost and the number of new bedrooms, the gain is very small – 24 bedrooms, a net gain of 5.4 per cent of affordable housing from this site.

"I know all affordable housing is vital but it makes you wonder whether this development is worth bothering about if that is all the new homes it will provide."

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The Suffolk Coastal area has a housing crisis and new policy is being rushed through to force developers building more than three homes to make sure 30pc of them are affordable, for rent, or for shared equity.

But the new policy will be too late for the south seafront site.

It is feared the homes to be built, with their sea views will be way out of the price range of most Felixstowe families and many will be snapped up as second homes by outsiders.

Mr Ninnmey, a town and district councillor, said he had serious doubts about the scheme proposed by Suffolk Coastal and its partners Bloor Homes to use the site for an ampitheatre, homes, car parks, gardens, play areas and a café.

Parking for the houses was way below that needed and would spill into the streets or public parking areas, which were also inadequate for the numbers of visitors tourism chiefs were anticipating.

He said: "There will be 1.2 parking spaces per unit for 209 homes, and 475 bedrooms in total – it doesn't take many owners to be two-car families, or even more, for there to be problems.

"This area could so easily have been given a new lease of life at little cost if Stage Door had been allowed to continue to turn the Herman de Stern into a theatre and arts centre, English Heritage would have restored the Martello Tower, and residents have been told they could receive Doorstep Green funding for the gardens and open space.

"All that would have been needed would have been café."

Suffolk Coastal says a detailed planning application for the site is expected soon.

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