Views sought over housing crisis

VIEWS are being sought on new proposals to tackle Suffolk Coastal's housing crisis, which is forcing many to leave their home towns and villages.Average pay in the district has dropped in the past two years, while the average price of housing has rocketed – leaving youngsters particularly with little chance of buying a home.

VIEWS are being sought on new proposals to tackle Suffolk Coastal's housing crisis, which is forcing many to leave their home towns and villages.

Average pay in the district has dropped in the past two years, while the average price of housing has rocketed – leaving youngsters particularly with little chance of buying a home.

Latest statistics show nearly 4,000 affordable homes should be built – half of them in Felixstowe and the Trimleys – to meet the area's needs.

Councillors have now drafted changes to planning policy to increase the amount of new affordable housing, giving local people a much better chance to buy or rent a home, and they want to hear residents' views.


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Developers will in future have to include 30 per cent of rented, low-cost of shared ownership housing in any project.

"Many people who want to enter the housing market in our district cannot do so because their financial resources and income are below that necessary to buy even the lowest-priced housing available, and the cost of rented housing is also increasing beyond the means of many of our residents," said Stephen Burroughes, cabinet member for housing.

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"All the indications are that the gap between local earnings and house prices will continue to widen, meaning that even more of our local people could be excluded from the housing market."

Much of the new building in the district in recent years has been targeted at people already on the housing ladder.

But factors such as more young single people seeking homes, people living longer, break-up of relationships, is creating a growing need for smaller and low-cost accommodation.

"Our proposed new policies should mean that more homes for rent managed by housing associations are built, as well as shared ownership schemes where people can rent and buy a new home. We also want to see more low-cost homes built for sale in our district," said Andy Smith, deputy leader of the council.

"In the future, 30pc of all new homes in developments of three houses or more should be affordable housing. This will mean some significant changes for developers, but this council thinks they owe a responsibility to the community and should help meet the housing needs of local people."

The increasingly urgent need for affordable housing will see the council prepared to consider granting exceptional planning permission on land not allocated for housing in villages and towns.

"All applications will continue to be considered on their own merits but we must start taking radical action to ensure that as far as possible our local people can have a home of their own in their own local community," said Mr Smith.

Suffolk Coastal's proposed housing policy can be found on www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/info/consultation.html

Comments should be made to Jeremy Schofield, director of planning and leisure by October 3.

n What do you think – should developers be made to build 30pc social housing into every housing development? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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