Plans revealed for more affordable housing across east Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:58 28 December 2019

East Suffolk Council has revealed its plans to increase housing for those in most need Picture: ANDREW HENDRY

East Suffolk Council has revealed its plans to increase housing for those in most need Picture: ANDREW HENDRY

Andrew Hendry

Up to 750 new affordable homes are set to be provided in east Suffolk over the next three years.

Community leaders have drawn up a strategic plan which will see a variety of methods - including purchasing buildings for conversion and land acquisition - used to create 250 properties a year over the next three years.

Some homes will be for rent and others for shared ownership to help people onto the housing ladder.

East Suffolk Council's plan will cost £47million and will also include building 50 new council homes a year. In 2017/18 the council built 65 new homes.

A large proportion of the new homes for rent will be one and two bedroom properties as there are a large proportion of single people and couples in existing council homes who may relocate and free-up larger properties for families in need.

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The council says the provision of more homes across the north of the district will be given initial priority as most affordable land opportunities are in the Lowestoft area where an existing management and maintenance structure exists.

However, the authority also recognises the need and opportunities to develop in the south of the district to spread its housing stock.

Richard Kerry, portfolio holder for housing, said it was the first time East Suffolk has had a strategy "underlining how important we think it is to improve our residents' quality of life by building new homes".

He said: "Like many councils across the country, we know that we must adapt our approach to housing development and increase our capacity to meet the undeniable need for new homes in our district.

"Our Business Plan and Housing Strategy have embraced the drive to provide more affordable homes and this Housing Development Strategy confirms our commitment and approach to building and acquiring properties and land in East Suffolk."

Recent changes in Government policy have encouraged councils to build housing, using cash surpluses from their Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and increased borrowing by lifting councils' borrowing cap.

East Suffolk's longer term strategy for using the HRA money involves identifying redevelopment funding of £55.9m over the next 30 years along with new development funding of £227.3m for housing.

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