Council appeals for homes sales money to be spent on social housing

Aldeburgh from the town steps

Aldeburgh Town Council is appealing for money from home sales to be invested in social housing in the town - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Community leaders at a Suffolk resort are appealing to a social housing provider to ensure money from the sale of homes does not leave the town, but is reinvested to provide affordable housing. 

Ruth Proctor, town clerk at Aldeburgh Town Council, said the council shared residents' concerns that cash generated from property sales was being spent on building new homes in neighbouring towns, such as Leiston and Saxmundham and further afield. 

A property in High Street could be sold by social housing provider Flagship Group, unless another like-minded organisation comes forward to take ownership of the empty home. 

Mrs Proctor said the priority for the council was to ensure that there was sufficient affordable housing in the town for local residents by maintaining a social housing stock. 

She said although only one home could potentially be sold, this was not the first time this had happened and the council was keen to prevent further homes being sold and the profits being spent elsewhere. 

“Where the town council is concerned we are trying to work with Flagship Group to protect the social housing level in the town and prevent any further erosion of the social housing stock,” she added. 

A housing needs survey is currently being undertaken by the council to determine the level of social housing that needs to be provided in the town. 

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Councillors are due to meet with Flagship Group next month to seek ways of working together to stop a further reduction in social housing stock, while discussions are also taking place with East Suffolk Council to improve housing provision. 

“Aldeburgh is a working community and we need future generations to be able to work and live in the town that they grew up in,” Mrs Proctor added. 

James Payne, director of regeneration at Flagship Group, said sometimes "tough decisions" had to be made about empty homes, especially as older properties can need substantial and unsustainable levels of investment. 

He said any profit from sales was used to build affordable homes to help solve the housing crisis. 

He said: “We do not take the decision lightly to sell existing homes. But when we do, our preference in the first instance is to offer the opportunity to like-minded organisations with either a strong social purpose, local presence, or long-term interest in the area.”