Council's fears villagers are losing out on social housing

Orford Castle

Orford Parish Council is concerned about second home ownership in the village - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More concerns have been raised about affordable properties being sold for use as second homes in Suffolk when they should be used to house local residents. 

Orford and Gedgrave Parish Council said a ‘social housing’ bungalow in the village that had been sold some years ago was now being used as a second home.

Meanwhile, an Essex family "with no connections to the area" had also moved into a village home two years ago which could have been provided for a local family.

They have since moved out and the property has been put up for sale on the open market.

The parish council was also concerned that social housing associations were not consulting it about their plans when it could direct them to similar organisations that might be interested in taking ownership of these homes for the benefit of local people. 

The council said: “This is very uncomfortable for us to accept.  Strong, sustainable and affordable communities are built on strong family networks. Keeping local affordable housing available to local people is the best way to support that aim.”

In January, the EADT reported that nearby Aldeburgh Town Council was dealing with a similar situation and was appealing to developers to ensure money from the sale of homes does not leave the town, but is reinvested to provide affordable housing.

Most Read

This followed a resident's concerns that a home in High Street was going to be sold by social housing provider Flagship Group.

Ruth Proctor, town clerk at Aldeburgh, said the council was particularly concerned that cash generated from property sales was being spent on building new homes in neighbouring towns, such as Leiston and Saxmundham.

James Payne, director of regeneration at Flagship Group, welcomed the parish council offer to signpost like-minded organisations that could take on homes.

He said housing is offered to people on the local authority's housing register, but Flagship Group does not have a list and is therefore unable to influence who lives in them.

Solving the housing crisis meant not just building new homes, but selling older, more challenging homes so the money can be reinvested in the community.

Mr Payne said: "However, we also share the concerns about the impact second homes may have on communities, and the number of homes available for people who need them most. We will continue to do what we can to provide homes and create sustainable communities to solve the housing crisis.”