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Which East Suffolk eyesores could be revamped in £23m housing plan?

PUBLISHED: 07:54 29 November 2019 | UPDATED: 07:54 29 November 2019

The old Angel Theatre in Rendlesham is one of the brownfield sites in East Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The old Angel Theatre in Rendlesham is one of the brownfield sites in East Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

More than £23million has been pledged by a Suffolk council to turn eyesore sites into affordable homes.

Councillor Richard Kerry said the fund would help develop brownfield sites. Picture: DAVID GARRADCouncillor Richard Kerry said the fund would help develop brownfield sites. Picture: DAVID GARRAD

East Suffolk Council has confirmed in a report being presented to the cabinet that a budget of £23.7m has been set aside specifically for developing brownfield sites over the next two years, on top of investments already made.

While no sights have yet been formally identified, council chiefs said it would be used to deliver much-needed affordable homes when land options became available.

Councillor Richard Kerry, cabinet member for housing, said: "If you look at schemes like Duncan's Yard in Southwold where 20 homes were built, they weren't going to deliver affordable homes because it didn't fit their profit margins.

"But a brownfield site that probably isn't going to get developed I think is important to have developed.

"The council has to make sure that eventually we get some payback but we don't need to make a profit like housebuilders do."

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The council has not yet identified how many homes it could develop with the fund as it is dependent on the size and housing need at each site that comes forward.

Mr Kerry added: "I should imagine we will look at what the housing need is for that area, and if there was a demand for one or two bed places we would be foolish not to deliver that.

"At the moment we have just got this money set aside and we haven't looked at anything specifically but we are ready to intervene when sites are available."

The housing asset management strategy is due to be approved by cabinet next week, with the cash coming from the ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account budget.

It comes a month after the former Suffolk Coastal council offices brownfield site was approved for development of 100 homes, dubbed 'cheese wedges' by local critics.

Other key brownfield sites include the former Angel Theatre and gym site in Rendlesham, the old doctors surgery in Felixstowe which had been eyed for a new Wetherspoons pub, the Old Station Works in Westerfield and several plots in Beccles.

The council confirmed it would also feed in to the wider regeneration of Lowestoft, with a host of brownfield sites there.

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