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Mid Suffolk regains five year land supply to ease fears over unwanted developments

PUBLISHED: 13:02 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:08 25 March 2019

Mid Suffolk District Council has confirmed it has regained its five year land supply. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mid Suffolk District Council has confirmed it has regained its five year land supply. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Fears over speculative developers building unwanted homes in Mid Suffolk have been stemmed after the council confirmed it has regained a five-year land supply.

Glen Horn said the updated five year land supply position should give communities confidence. Picture: GREGG BROWNGlen Horn said the updated five year land supply position should give communities confidence. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Planning Inspectorate ruled in October that Mid Suffolk District Council could not demonstrate a five year land supply during an appeal for 49 homes in Woolpit.

It prompted
fears that it could open the floodgates to speculative developers as councils which cannot demonstrate a supply of five years must give more weight in favour of approval to applications seeking permission to build new homes.

Now, following a six week consultation, the council has confirmed it has an adequate supply of 5.06 years – around 43 homes above the threshold.

Councillor Glen Horn, cabinet member for planning, said: “With strict new standards of evidence required when demonstrating a land supply, our team have been hard at work gathering details of forthcoming development and crunching the numbers and we’re pleased to announce that we can demonstrate over five years of land supply even under these new criteria.

“While I believe we have consistently had a five year supply over the last six months, we can now evidence that position to the satisfaction of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Green councillor Andrew Stringer said it was the Mid Suffolk communities that suffer when the five year land supply is not strong enough. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILGreen councillor Andrew Stringer said it was the Mid Suffolk communities that suffer when the five year land supply is not strong enough. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

“A five year land supply is only one part of the picture when it comes to dealing with planning applications, but we know many of our residents consider it an important part and we hope this news will give them confidence, knowing we’re dedicated to building the right homes in the right places for our communities.”

When the latest position went out to consultation in January, the council believed it had a 5.32-year supply, but the final figure is now 5.06.

The consultation effectively calls on the public to challenge the figure, meaning at least one challenge during the consultation found there were fewer homes than believed.

Current levels indicate a need for around 580 homes per year needing to be built.

But the council’s Green group raised concerns that just 43 homes over the limit did not give it much of a buffer to further challenges.

Andrew Stringer, of the Green group, said: “We are pleased that after almost four years the Conservatives at Mid Suffolk are at least treating this issue seriously.

“We appreciate that the government have been constantly moving the goalposts here, but our communities are the ones that suffer when unsustainable numbers of houses are being forced where communities and councils have not planned for.”

The ruling means that the planning committee or planning officers do not have to give more weight in favour of approval for applications which are not suitable for the district.

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