Land pledged by Suffolk County Council for new homes
PUBLISHED: 09:02 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:02 24 May 2019
Plans to flog unused land have been unveiled by one of Suffolk's biggest landholders, in a bid to tackle the county's housing crisis.
Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks outlined the plan in his executive statement at Thursday's annual meeting, where he confirmed the council's position as the third largest landowner in the county could aid the housing shortage.
"Much of that land is put to good use, as county farms, operational depots and office accommodation," he said.
"There is scope to convert some of our land into much needed housing. And that would present an opportunity to generate income for the county council to reinvest in vital public services.
"My administration will develop proposals to make best use of our significant land asset, with a focus on delivering the kind of homes Suffolk needs.
"This will include the creation of a new housing board, to drive our ambition forward."
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However, housing remains a district and borough council matter, which means that any housing proposals would still need to be approved by those authorities.
The State of Suffolk 2019 report published this month revealed the county was in need of 62,000 new homes in the next 20 years to meet demand.
Labour group leader Sarah Adams said: "Above all we will put people at the centre of everything we do.
"Look to using our county farms and other assets to create income generating opportunities whilst increasing renewables and cutting our emissions.
"Work closely with all sectors for greater returns which work for those we represent."
Other commitments in Mr Hicks' executive statement included work on a long-term vision for Suffolk, with resources being pledged to work with communities in developing it, a review of the council's approach to growth and a more commercial way of doing business.
Mr Hicks also pledged a fresh commitment to the 'Greenest County' ambitions in tackling carbon emissions, pollution and waste.
Former Mid Suffolk District Council leader Nick Gowrley, who is also a county councillor, has been given a cabinet position with responsibility for economic development and housing.