Mismatch in social housing availability in east Suffolk revealed by new waiting list data

Consultation launched into Suffolk Coastal planning documents

Consultation launched into Suffolk Coastal planning documents - Credit: PA

Housing chiefs in east Suffolk are seeking to ensure more one and two bedroom properties are built to address a mismatch in availability revealed by new figures.

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s latest social housing waiting list stands at 2,952 – the highest figure in four years – with more than 2,500 of these people seeking properties with one or two bedrooms.

Despite the great demand for smaller homes, only 639 one and two bedroom properties have become available in the district in the past year – with around half of these restricted to people aged 60 and over.

SCDC housing chief Doreen Savage said the disparity between demand and availability was a challenge that needed to be addressed. “Unfortunately, there is not enough one-bedroom social housing stock in this district to meet the current demand and a large proportion of those that do become available are sheltered or special needs bungalows, which are not accessible to some of the applicants,” she said. “We are aware of this mismatch and actively addressing the issue with the registered providers of social housing. We are also working through the planning process to increase the amount of affordable housing provision in the district by asking for more one-bedroom properties to be built where affordable housing is required as part of any new development.”

As part of this process, 35 one-bedroom affordable housing homes are currently being built in the district and Ms Savage has pledged to continue addressing the shortage through the planning process.

Christopher Hudson, who is a district councillor for Framlingham, which is facing applications for hundreds of new homes, has been critical of developers who focus on building large “executive” houses rather than matching the local demand for smaller properties.

“These statistics bear out the crying need for one and two bedroom accommodation in our district,” he said. “Our efforts must be re-doubled to assist this growing and serious need for housing for first-time buyers and those downsizing at the other end of the demographic.”

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Suffolk Coastal and Waveney councils have teamed with a website to match residents with affordable private accommodation. Visit eastsuffolk.letshelpyou.co.uk for details.