Affordable rent project reaches new milestone

A CHARITABLE trust gave visitors the chance to look around two new affordable rent homes built to accommodate local tenants.

Dunwich Town Trust is the first charity in East Anglia to build affordable housing using �270,000 of its own funds - and hopes to offer the first tenancy to people from the area.

Guests were invited to an open day to see how the project has progressed since work began in the village earlier this year.

John Cary, clerk to the trust, said: 'Everything went very well and we had a good turn out, including a lot of villagers interested in the project, which has sparked interest elsewhere in terms of it being so unique.'

So far, 12 applicants are on the list and hopeful of being handed the keys to one of the two homes. Four of which come from Dunwich while the remaining eight hail from the surrounding area.

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A selection panel will carefully choose the first tenants, whose identity will not be disclosed until the decision has been made in order to avoid any suggestion of partiality, but priority will be given to those from the village itself. Mr Cary added: 'The housing is equipped for disable tenants and built on a lifetime basis and should be able to accommodate anyone from a young family to an older person.

'Under an affordable rent covenant with Suffolk Coastal District Council we have set the rent at �495 a month.'

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The successful bidders could be named as early as mid-November by the trust, which was formed in 1889 to administer the property of the dissolved corporation of Dunwich, previously owned as an estate village by the Barne family.

It was endowed with property to fund its work, which has included renting homes, donating poor relief and acting for the general benefit of the inhabitants of Dunwich.

It also gives grants to other institutions in Dunwich such as the church and the museum, and helped finance the experimental sea defence project in 2007.

The trust already owns and rents out five properties at reasonable rents and collects an income from investments, but the new terrace of two homes are the first new properties to built since the 1920s.

With average house prices in Dunwich at more than �500,000, it is estimated only half of the 100 people on the electoral roll actually live in the village.

The houses were designed by Ipswich architects Barefoot & Gilles, known for their award-winning affordable housing, and built by Blackburns Construction.

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