Southwold vision sets out homes 'must be for full-time residents'

Southwold's High Street regularly has lots of tourists on during the summer

Southwold residents will get to vote on their Neighbourhood Plan in February - Credit: Archant

Restricting the number of second homes and holiday lets is one of the key issues in Southwold's possible Neighbourhood Plan.

A referendum on the Southwold Neighbourhood Plan, which sets out its vision for development to 2036, will be held in February.

If adopted, East Suffolk Council will use the plan when considering future planning applications. 

Major issues focused on include restricting the loss of dwellings to second home ownership and holiday lets, increasing the number of affordable homes and making sure that residential parking problems are not worsened.

In 2015 the price of the average property was more than 21 times the average earnings of a Southwold resident, this compares to 7.03 for Suffolk.

Cllr David Beavan Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Cllr David Beavan - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Southwold Cllr David Beavan said: "Southwold will join Reydon with a residency clause so that all new buildings must be for full-time residents, although there is not much dry land left in Southwold which is rapidly becoming an island.

"It is not a panacea for stopping second or holiday homes but it will help until we can make holiday homes a separate planning use class."

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An example of the current housing situation in the town was highlighted in the neighbourhood plan.

It said that Tibby’s Triangle, completed in 2013, was built on the site of the former Adnams’ distribution centre.

It provided 38 houses with ten shared ownership homes, but less than 10 years later, 90% of the affordable units are second homes and holiday lets.

To prevent this from happening in the future the plan introduces several policies which state that proposals for all new housing (including affordable housing but excluding replacement dwellings) will only be supported where first and future occupation is "restricted in perpetuity to ensure that each new dwelling is occupied only as a principal residence".

The plan will also deliver affordable housing through a Community Led Housing (CLH) Group, which has the legal ability to build permanently affordable housing.

The plan says a CLH Group must own, manage or steward the homes in a manner of its choosing, including establishing an allocations policy that is consistent with its constitution.

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for coastal management, David Ritchie, said it would allow the s

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for planning and coastal management, David Ritchie - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Planning and Coastal Management said: “Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to get directly involved with planning the areas in which they live and work, and I would encourage those living in Southwold to get involved and take part in the referendum next year.” 

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