Revealed - where in Suffolk needs 18,000 homes by 2036
PUBLISHED: 05:31 20 March 2019
About 18,000 new homes are needed in part of Suffolk in the next 15 years, according to latest figures.
The new homes are needed in the Babergh and Mid Suffolk district council areas by 2036 sparking fears over whether the number of new homes required can be delivered.
A joing housing strategy published by the two authorities anticipates a population increase of 16,600 by 2036 when one in three people will be aged 65 or over, according to the report.
Current housing need levels indicate that Babergh needs 420 new homes each year, while Mid Suffolk’s requirement is 585 per year – around 1,000 new homes a year in total – from both council builds and private developers.
More than 400 new council homes are needed by 2022 alone, the strategy said.
But questions have been asked as to whether these numbers can be delivered.
John Matthissen from Mid Suffolk’s Green group, said: “The Green group is not confident that the target numbers can be achieved because developers build at rates limited to their ability to sell.
“Those in most need cannot afford to buy, bearing in mind that house prices are around nine times average earnings in Mid Suffolk, which is a particularly high ratio.”
Mr Matthissen said there needed to be more emphasis on councils working with developers to deliver the right kinds of housing.
He added: “Our group particularly wants to see more houses built to the Lifetime Homes Standard, which makes property easier to adapt to changing needs and ages.
“There is too much emphasis on the major house building companies who are very reluctant to build bungalows which require more land and thus achieve fewer units per hectare.
“Smaller local builders are more likely to provide bungalows.”
Alongside homes, it has also raised questions over the level of infrastructure development needed, such as new roads, health centres and schools.
Suffolk County Council has already embarked on a program of identifying areas in need of new or expanded schools within the next decade, including additional places at Bosmere, Claydon and Bramford primary schools.
More than 10,000 new jobs are expected to be created over the same time period.
With an increase in aging population anticipated over the next 18 years, Babergh’s Conservative cabinet member for housing Jan Osborne said bungalows, as well as flats for young adults, were also needed.
“Everybody deserves a home and that’s a key factor to their health and wellbeing. It’s our responsibility to provide those,” she said.
“The homes and housing strategy that goes to council actually has put a few actions in place to deliver on homes that are needed for the community.
“Homes for life and making sure we have got homes that people can live in independently for as long as they can – that’s very much a key factor for older people – and housing for younger people.”
Mid Suffolk cabinet member for housing Jill Wilshaw added: “We are working as hard as we can to get things built but it’s just taking some time.” Ms Wilshaw said the length of time between planning developments being approved and spades in the ground was an issue, often taking around three years or so before any work begins. She added: “Our planning officers have been in touch with developers and we have had assurances.”