Under-used council land to become sites for 3,000 homes

An artist illustration featured in the Mildenhall masterplan

An artist illustration featured in the Mildenhall masterplan of what the new 1,300 homes planned for west Mildenhall could look like - Credit: BLUEPENCIL

Plans have been revealed to build nearly 3,000 new homes across Suffolk in the next 15 years through a new joint venture company.

The project will be a partnership between Suffolk County Council and the private sector to make use of spare and under-used land owned by the authority.

Duncan Johnson, head of strategic housing said: “We agreed an objective with the cabinet last year, which was about accelerating the delivery of the council’s priorities, and this is about maximising social value, providing the types of homes that Suffolk needs, and across a range of sites meeting our climate sustainability commitments.

The layout of the west Mildenhall 1,300 homes development in the Mildenhall masterplan.

The layout of the west Mildenhall 1,300 homes development in the Mildenhall masterplan. - Credit: BLUEPENCIL DESIGNS LTD

“The joint venture is picking up five specific sites, and it is about bringing some expertise, some funding and some experience from the market in order to deliver not only high quality homes in terms of design, but also a future homes standard addressing climate sustainability.”

Next week the council's cabinet is set to conclude the contract procurement process that will see a partner company picked to form the new venture.

Current projects in the pipeline total between 2,600 and 2,800 homes across five sites, but could expand as more sites come forward.

Headlining the current sites are two large developments of 1,300 homes each – one in north Lowestoft and another to the west of Mildenhall.

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The other three confirmed for the new joint venture are 114 on county farm land in Bramford, 45-50 on the former St Felix Middle School site in Newmarket and 106 in West Row, for which a planning application has just been submitted.

In addition, the council is also pursuing other housebuilding projects which will be worked on outside of the new joint venture.

Illustrative layout designs for Suffolk County Council's Bramford 114 homes application

Illustrative layout designs for Suffolk County Council's Bramford 114 homes application - Credit: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

The joint venture will allow the council to have a higher level of control over housing needed, which could include more affordable homes, bungalows, first-time buyer properties or retirement homes.

The authority pledged to be collaborative with districts, and would utilise sustainable measures such as ground and air source heat pumps and electric vehicle provision.

Rob Hancock, programme manager at Suffolk County Council said: “We do have the option in future to add more sites in should they come forward if sites get allocated in future plans or if the planning position allows, but that will be something treated on a case-by-case basis.

“This is clearly a long term initiative. The JV will have a 15 year lifespan and these five sites will be built out over that 15 year period.

“It will most likely be the smaller sites that come forward first, and we can anticipate being on the ground in late 2023 at West Row [subject to planning approval] and then the larger Mildenhall and Lowestoft sites will typically be built out around 150 a year, so a 10-12 year type lifespan for those sites.”