July 31 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Rising house prices in an east Suffolk market town risk creating a “wealthy ghetto” where ordinary working families cannot afford to live.
Councillors in Framlingham have warned that the town has become a “victim of its own success” as affluent second homeowners drive property prices to unaffordable levels.
Councillor Kevin Coe, discussing the matter at Thursday’s town council meeting, said “Framlingham added £50,000” to a property’s asking price and would soon rival Aldeburgh or Southwold in terms of exclusivity.
The growing cost of accommodation was reported to have caused recruitment challenges for Thomas Mills High School. Councillor Liz Delany, who liaised with the school while working on the town’s neighbourhood plan, said the housing costs were off-putting for staff.
Philip Hurst, the school’s headteacher, said the comments reflected the “wider context” as opposed to specific problems at the school.
However, he said that a “mixture of housing” would be useful in attracting families to the town.
Christopher Hudson, one of the town’s district councillors, speaking after the meeting, said it was “nigh on impossible” for key workers to find affordable accommodation and the current prices risked creating a “wealthy ghetto”.
“I think it’s something that the core strategy needs to address – we need an integrated plan for the town,” he added.
Recent media reports reflecting positively on Framlingham as a place to live and work have, Mr Hudson says, encouraged affluent Londoners to seek second or third homes in the town.
“Framlingham is possibly the finest example of a medieval market town in east Suffolk,” he said.
“Once the perception of this spreads, we get the ‘down-from-London’ effect and as soon as that happens house prices go through the roof. In that sense, Framlingham is a victim of its own success – but if people aren’t careful it could destroy the very thing they loved about the town in the first place.”
Mr Hudson, who was recently made chairman of Suffolk County Council called for a “joined up approach” in addressing the town’s housing situations.