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Babergh to review five year housing supply more regularly in bid to stop speculative development

PUBLISHED: 09:12 12 June 2018

Babergh District Council's cabinet decided the proposals at Endeavour House on Monday Picture: ARCHANT

Babergh District Council's cabinet decided the proposals at Endeavour House on Monday Picture: ARCHANT

Planning bosses in Babergh are set to review its five year housing supply more frequently in a bid to stop speculative developers making quick cash by pushing through unfavourable applications.

Current national planning policy dictates that housing applications should not be rejected where no five-year housing supply can be demonstrated unless the negatives severely outweigh the benefits.

It means that councils are vulnerable to prospective developers who submit applications which may not be suitable but are harder to challenge because a five year supply is not in place.

A joint local plan between Babergh and Mid Suffolk is currently being put together, which will highlight sites suitable for development, as well as infrastructure improvements that will be required such as new schools, health services and road improvements.

Following work by Babergh District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee in assessing the issue, recommendations to review planning applications every six months was approved by the council’s cabinet on Monday.

Five-year housing supply figures will also be published every year.

Nick Ridley, Conservative cabinet member for planning said: “This is a very important issue because we have been challenged from some aspects of our core strategy. It’s a matter of interest to the community and developers.”

Independent cabinet member for organisational delivery, Derek Davis, urged parishes to develop their own local plans which help outline where development is most appropriate and what infrastructure is needed, which must be taken into consideration as part of the planning process.

Margaret Maybury, Conservative cabinet member for communities added: “It really does bother the residents, and they are concerned about the speculative developers that come into the area.

“If we can be seen to be updating our information as much as possible I think that goes some way to alleviating to residents the idea that we are not concerned about it, because we are.”

Housing supply figures from 2017-22 suggests the equivalent homes for 4.1 years has been identified in Babergh through its core strategy or 3.1 years based on the strategic housing market assessment.

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