More affordable housing needed

DEVELOPERS building three or more properties in Felixstowe will be told in future to include some affordable homes in a bid to help more people get on the housing ladder.

DEVELOPERS building three or more properties in Felixstowe will be told in future to include some affordable homes in a bid to help more people get on the housing ladder.

Major changes are to be made to council policy in the wake of rising house prices and increasing rents – and claims that many young people are having to move away from the resort to get their own home.

At the moment, developers have to build 25 or more homes before they are required to include any affordable properties for sale or rent.

But planners say few projects feature that many homes and most applications are to infill small pieces of land with just a handful of homes.


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In future, if it is proposed to build three or more homes there will be a requirement for some of them to be small starter homes.

Council chiefs will need to be shown that the homes will be sold to local families at a price they can afford and that any rented accommodation will be always be used for rent. If affordable housing cannot be provided on site, the developer will be expected to pay for it to be built elsewhere.

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The proposals – which go before Suffolk Coastal's replacement local plan task group on Wednesday – follow claims that many low-earning Felixstowe families wanting their own homes are leaving the town for Kesgrave.

Property prices at the resort have soared over the past three years and are still rising. The town has reached its boundaries and few new homes are being built – and there is a desperate need for affordable homes.

Planners say the new policy will apply to all settlements in the district, which includes the Trimley villages, Kesgrave, Leiston, Martlesham, Melton, Rushmere St Andrew and Woodbridge.

While towns like Felixstowe and Woodbridge have great need for affordable homes, villages have just as big a problem. Research has shown that in the past five years one-third of developments have been up to four homes.

"There is a clear gap between the cost of property and the ability of local people to purchase it," says a report to councillors.

"Market rents are also high and above the level of those in need of social housing."

The council is also proposing to relax the rules where developers want to build affordable homes on sites not designated for housing on the outskirts of towns and villages to try to help.

However, the council does not appear to be setting a percentage of how much cheap housing should be built as part of a development and says it should be "an appropriate proportion".

The policy also cannot be applied to land where permission has been granted and the development has yet to take place.

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