Housing tackled at town meeting

DEBENHAM is drawing inspiration from a fellow Suffolk village as it bids to provide more affordable housing for its young people and key workers.The village could follow the lead of Grundisburgh in providing specially reduced property prices for local people.

DEBENHAM is drawing inspiration from a fellow Suffolk village as it bids to provide more affordable housing for its young people and key workers.

The village could follow the lead of Grundisburgh in providing specially reduced property prices for local people.

A public meeting about the issue is being held at 7.30pm on Tuesday at Debenham Community Centre. It follows an appraisal, carried out in 2001, that identified a lack of cheap housing.

Parish council chairwoman Helen Huish said: "I don't think I've seen a house cheaper than £135,000 in the village for a long time.

"People I speak to in the village say their children are being forced to move out because they can't afford the property prices. The nature of employment in Debenham means workers also find it very difficult to do the jobs because they can't afford to live in the village."

She added a current housing development in Sackvylle Street, due to be complete in 2006, would not meet the deficit as most of the properties cost well in excess of £100,000.

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The Debenham Market Town Partnership is preparing to undertake a detailed housing needs survey in early September and Tuesday's meeting is seen as the first step along this process.

Mrs Huish said: "There's no quick fix to providing a first step on the property ladder for our young people, but we're determined to do all we can to address the problem.

"Debenham is a wonderful place, but if we are to be a sustainable community, and not just a haven for the rich commuter, it must be accessible to the young and those who work in our businesses and schools."

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