Coastal: Action proposed to deal with affordable homes need

Suffolk Coastal District Council approves plans for new homes in Leiston and Wickham Market

Suffolk Coastal District Council approves plans for new homes in Leiston and Wickham Market - Credit: Archant

BETTER communication is being recommended between council chiefs and housing associations in order to provide more affordable homes and ensure they are the type needed.

Councillors are also being urged to give older couples living in family homes more opportunities to downsize and free-up larger properties for those who need them, and to make sure homes do not stand empty for longer than necessary.

The action is part of a series of ideas which Suffolk Coastal’s scrutiny committee is set to recommend on May 9 to cabinet following an in depth investigation into housing in the district.

Councillors gathered evidence from town and parish councillors, housing association officials and tenants, developers and council officers.

The overall aim was to look at concern around a wide range of housing issues and find ways of enhancing the service to tenants in and ensure new affordable housing was the best possible.

In a report, cabinet member for housing TJ Haworth said councillors did not want properties to be left standing empty for significant lengths of time, and tenants should not be moved out until finances and plans are fully formed, in place and ready to be delivered.

She said: “The council should give greater priority to proactively and robustly identifying the correct number of empty properties and ensuring that action is taken to enforce against any that are being kept deliberately empty.”

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Another recommendation is that housing associations and developers should consult and discuss with Suffolk Coastal and communities on the most appropriate mix of housing on developments to ensure they meet local needs and, where necessary, enable families to downsize within the area.

Councillors are also keen to “hold the line” in requiring house builders to provide a proportion of affordable housing on any mixed development site.

They also want Suffolk County Council to follow Suffolk Coastal in reviewing its landholdings to identify sites which could be donated for developments of up to 12 homes.

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