Felixstowe: Campaigners shocked as row of affordable houses in the town are lost
The resort is in desperate need of more affordable housing for homeless families, but has today lost half a street of homes for rent – after a council decided to sell them off.
Suffolk Coastal sold the row of homes in Highfield Road, Felixstowe, on the open market because it said they were too costly to renovate.
The council said neither it nor Flagship Housing, who the properties were leased to, had the funds to carry out necessary work.
Campaigners have been calling for more social housing for years and the council’s housing officers have said Felixstowe has a strong demand for rented homes.
Deputy mayor Mike Deacon, said: “It’s a great shame if affordable houses are lost to the town because we are desperately needing them.”
Margaret Morris, a councillor, added: “It’s a shame they have been sold off and have not been used for social housing. There’s certainly a need for social housing here.”
The homes were leased to Flagship by the council in 1993 but they did not renew their lease in 2006 and then left the arrangement last year. A spokeswoman for the company said it was not financially viable to renovate the properties and when the lease came to an end, they decided not to continue with the project.
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She said: “The properties at Highfield Road, Felixstowe, were leased by Suffolk Coastal District Council to Flagship.
“When the lease came to an end, Flagship decided not to renew the agreement.”
The properties have now been sold on the open market and a spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said while it was disappointing to lose the properties, they had no option but to sell because there was no funding to renovate them.
“As Flagship no longer wanted the homes, and the council has not had homes for rent since 1991 and also clearly does not have the funding to modernise the homes, they were put on the open market,” said a spokesman.
“The council is of course committed to increasing the number of decent affordable homes for our residents, but if those homes are not decent and meeting today’s housing standards and the relevant landlord cannot invest in bringing them up to scratch then clearly those homes as in Highfield Road could not and should not be kept.”
Cash from the sale of the homes will be spent on improving services and facilities in the district.
? Should the council have sold the homes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.