Nacton: Lack of affordable homes in Amberfield School development is labelled ‘bonkers’

Amberfield School.

Amberfield School. - Credit: Archant

A decision to convert a former all-girl independent school into luxury homes has been criticised for its lack of affordable housing.

Councillor Kimberley Williams said the decision was “bonkers” and would create a development that would be an “enclave for the wealthy and over 55s”, separate from the village where it will stand.

Suffolk Coastal council has granted permission for the Amberfield School site in Nacton to be converted into 22 homes in a £14million project.

It will include apartments for the over 55s in the old school, along with four-bed, five-bed and six-bedroom houses built in the grounds.

The developers will not be required to provide affordable housing – the council’s policy is that one in every three homes in a project should be social housing – but to pay £483,000 towards the provision of affordable homes in nearby villages.

Ms Williams said: “I think that is bonkers.

“What about provision for the young people who have grown up in Nacton and Levington and would like to be able to afford to live in their own village? They will be shoved off to Ipswich to live.

Most Read

“This development will be an enclave for the wealthy and over 55s when it should include – and our own policy says this – affordable homes and be a mixture of homes.

“We have only approved our new local plan two weeks ago and here we are, the first application that is against it, and we are breaking the policies already. I feel really aggrieved about this.”

In a report to councillors, case officer Naomi Goold said the housing officer confirmed the need for affordable housing in Nacton was four applicants requiring one bed accommodation and one applicant needing two bed accommodation.

The Amberfield project was providing a minimum of two bedroomed apartments.

She said: “Given the limited need in Nacton itself, type of development proposed and the location of the site away from the main facilities and services within the village, it was considered that it would be more appropriate to obtain a commuted sum.

“The sum obtained could then be utilised to provide affordable housing more centrally located and within a comprehensive affordable housing development which would also be the preferred option for registered social landlords.”