Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils confirm five year land supply figure reached

Long Melford is among the areas previously affected by the the districts' lack fo five year land sup

Long Melford is among the areas previously affected by the the districts' lack fo five year land supply Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils have demonstrated their five-year land supply – meaning the councils have enough land to meet housing needs in the future.

The councils have been unable to demonstrate this target since April 2017, leaving them open to speculative housing applications.

The National Planning Policy Framework specifies that, if the council can’t demonstrate a five year supply, housing policies they create carry less weight.

However, Mid Suffolk has now confirmed it has enough housing land supply for 6.5 years, while Babergh has 6.7 years.

The councils will now be reviewing current and pre-applications for housing on which the issue has an impact.

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Councillor David Whybrow, Mid Suffolk’s cabinet member for planning, said: “We’ve had to take some tough decisions over the past few years, and more than once some of our planning committee members found themselves sitting for 12 hours a day, but that hard work has now paid off. With a five year land supply in place, we can address the housing need in our district and ensure we build the right houses in the right places, with more input at a local level. “

Councillor Nick Ridley, Babergh District Council’s cabinet Member for planning, said: “The scale of the housing challenge in the UK is clear - a great many local planning authorities do not have a five Year Housing Land Supply as demand for housing rises.

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“Thanks to the tough choices taken at Babergh, both by our Planning Committee and by the Cabinet, Babergh is now one of the authorities who can demonstrate a supply.

“This will give us more room to shape housing delivery within the district and ensure we build the housing our communities need, with as much local influence over developments within the district.”

Long Melford district councillors John Nunn and Richard Kemp, were ‘positive and pleased’ to hear the news.

Mr Kemp said: “It means that developments can be judged correctly on planning merits and the wishes of communities, instead of people having to accept totally unsuitable developments . Hopefully this latest situation will reflect on some of the current unsuitable applications and refusals will follow as a natural result. This breathes back a little belief in the planning system, for the population of Babergh.”

Rachel Eburne, opposition leader with the Green group, said: “While this is good news for the future it does not help the many communities who now have planning permissions for homes in all the wrong places.

“We have been pushing for action on this for over four years and while we’re pleased the stable door has been shut, too many horses have bolted over the last few years.”

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