Waveney and Suffolk Coastal outline plans to increase affordable housing
- Credit: PA
Housing chiefs in east Suffolk are aiming to provide more than 600 new council houses and 1,500 affordable homes in the next six years to help those in need.
Demand is coming not just from vulnerable people in urban areas, but also families – younger and older residents – desperate to stay in villages where they have lived all their lives but find themselves priced out of the market.
The demand 'significantly exceeds' supply with the number of households on waiting lists four times the number of homes which become available each year.
Suffolk Coastal and Waveney councils, which are set to merge into a super council, have now drawn up a new set of policies and aims to deal with the crisis.
The documents, set to be approved by both councils this month, say the main focus will be to increase the amount of council-owned affordable housing from 4,479 homes to more than 5,100 homes, including developing on council-owned and 'exception site' land in Suffolk Coastal.
There will also be a drive to increase the overall number of affordable homes in Waveney by 150 a year and in Suffolk Coastal by 100 a year.
The councils aim to redress this by working with developers on major projects, such as the 2,000-home Adastral Park scheme at Martlesham Heath and the 1,300 homes planned at Lowestoft's Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area, where one-third will be affordable homes or legal agreements will guarantee cash towards housebuilding.
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They will also work with housing associations and the private sector, develop small and medium sized sites in their ownership, and examine the possibility of creating a separate housing development company.
The councils said there were 'too few affordable rented homes' in east Suffolk – just under 13,500 – and despite Waveney initiating a small council new build programme, and continuing housing association development, the stock of social housing in both districts has increased slowly.
'Most housing demand is in the main urban settlements and market towns, but there remains a small acute demand for affordable housing in the smaller rural settlements,' said the councils.
'This can provide critical support to the sustainability of those places, by enabling younger working families to remain and older residents to move to more suitable housing while continuing to live within their community.'