15,000 on council housing waiting lists
By Danielle NuttallTHE full extent of the housing crisis in Suffolk can be revealed by the EADT today after it emerged almost 15,000 people are waiting for council help to find a home.
By Danielle Nuttall
THE full extent of the housing crisis in Suffolk can be revealed by the EADT today after it emerged almost 15,000 people are waiting for council help to find a home.
Soaring property prices causing a lack of affordable homes was blamed as being one of the key factors behind the startling figures.
Housing registers held by every district and borough council in the county currently have about 15,000 people on them who need a council house or a housing association property.
Dr Wil Gibson, chief executive of rural group Suffolk Acre, said: “We have been banging on about this for years now, there's just not enough affordable housing being built. Are those in charge are actually taking this issue seriously?
“People talk about housing coming to Suffolk and that there's enough development planned, but we have been doing that for years and we're still not addressing the issues.
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“In rural areas it is particularly difficult for those who want to remain where they were born and have family connections.”
The largest number of people waiting for homes is in the Ipswich borough, where 3,404 were listed on December 31.
This was followed by 3,038 in St Edmundsbury, 1,800 in Waveney, 1,072 in Forest Heath, 1,834 in Mid Suffolk, 1,531 in Suffolk Coastal and 1,600 in Babergh.
Jo Howarth, head of housing and social needs at Ipswich Borough Council, said the pressures for accommodation were increasing every year because of a serious lack of affordable homes.
“First of all it is quite an economically prosperous area and Ipswich is quite buoyant with rising prices making it difficult to afford owner occupation,” he added.
“People who bought to let may have seen some nice profits in the last year and sold their properties back on.
“It's made it more expensive for people to afford to purchase accommodation. There is a general lack of affordable accommodation full stop and lack of affordable private rented accommodation.”
Mr Howarth said the authority was also facing a shortage of council accommodation because of the right-to-buy system.
“We are never going to meet the demand. There are almost 3,500 on the register and we have only about 9,000 council properties. Properties do not turn over that fast,” he added.
“Pressures are increasing all the time. It's getting harder every year as demand increases every year.”