Final draft of Hunstanton homes plan to be discussed at meeting
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Building the right kind of homes is the key to ensuring people can afford to live and work in a Norfolk seaside town.
A final draft of Hunstanton's neighbourhood development plan is on the agenda for tonight's annual town meeting. Public consultation is now open, after which there will be a referendum on the document.
The plan reveals the number of second homes in the resort increased from 358 (12.6pc) to 517 (17.9pc) between 2010 and 2017.
It notes: "As housing stock availability declines in these areas, the consequence will be increasing pressure and demand for non-principal homes within the Hunstanton Parish area."
Demographics show "a massive loss of 20 to 34 year olds but an influx of 60 to 68 year olds", the report goes on. It adds: "There is a compelling need for affordable homes for young people to provide accommodation for them so that they can live and work in the town."
The development plan says the size of homes being built is the key issue.
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"Large houses do little to benefit the needs of local people or the community," it adds.
"They are seen as being built for the second home market and can push housing prices up and out of the range of local people. As second homes they will remain empty for a large part of the year.
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"The number of these large houses is seen as swamping the ‘reasonably sized’ houses that would make the community more sustainable.
"In order to provide the housing for the elderly who wish to downsize and that required for people who wish to live and work in the town, as well as for second homes and holiday lets, houses should be of a modest size with two or three bedrooms,"
The document adds: "None of these requirements would make houses unsuitable as second homes, but they do mean that permanent residents with average incomes may be able to own such houses, rather than the houses forever being unsuitable for permanent residency.
"Affordable/shared ownership accommodation is needed for young people and families in order to ensure that the town has a sustainable permanent population.
"If these people cannot afford to live here, they move elsewhere and thus the continued existence of the amenities that we do have (school, shops etc.) is threatened."
The report says a number of major developments are under way in the town. It adds may residents are opposed to large developments because of the extra pressure they place on local services such as will put upon local services, such as GPs, water supply, sewage and the roads.
Consultation on the plan runs until May 25. You can have your say at https://tinyurl.com/4t67zhpn.