Downturn prompts fears over social homes

Fears were today voiced that the number of affordable homes developers are required to build will be cut to give the recession-hit construction industry a kick-start.

TRIMLEY: Fears were today voiced that the number of affordable homes developers are required to build will be cut to give the recession-hit construction industry a kick-start.

Community leaders though say they would fight such a proposal - as social housing such as rented homes and shared equity projects are vital to give young people a place to live and stop them moving away.

Trimley St Mary Parish Council is willing to accept some new homes in the village as long as affordable housing is top priority.

Suffolk Coastal currently expects 30 per cent of any development to be social homes.

However, there are worries it could relax the one-in-three ratio to encourage cash-strapped developers to start new projects.

Parish council vice chairman Mary Dixon said: “We need affordable homes and the 30pc is crucial - to relax that to encourage developers to start building would be a very dangerous step.”

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Parish and district councillor Richard Kerry said the biggest obstacle to affordable housing was provision of infrastructure for developments, such as roads, education, play space and community facilities.

“It works out for large developments about �30,000 per house and no developer will take on that bill. We should have a policy which says work should not start on any development until the 30pc affordable homes is agreed in writing,” he said.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said the council had been approached by developers asking to renegotiate legal agreements.

“Their requests reflects the problems affecting builders across the country caused by the ongoing recession and it is an issue that the council will be considering, but this will have no impact on the current affordable housing policies as laid out in the Local Development Framework consultation document,” he said.

Should developers build more than 30pc social homes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk