New affordable home numbers falling

THE number of affordable homes being built in Suffolk has fallen - with one district failing to build a single property in a 12-month period, a new report has revealed.

THE number of affordable homes being built in Suffolk has fallen - with one district failing to build a single property in a 12-month period, a new report has revealed.

Housing watchdogs described the figures as a “shocking failure” and another setback to first time buyers desperately seeking a way on to the housing ladder.

But although admitting the sharp decline of 10% was disappointing, local council bosses said they were addressing the problem.

The Suffolk Environmental Monitoring Report - a joint document from Suffolk County Council and all seven borough and districts in the area - revealed 311 affordable homes were built across the county in 2003/04. But this figure had slumped to just 280 a year later.


You may also want to watch:


The news means more gloom for first time buyers with house prices continuing to rise, according to the Suffolk Preservation Society - which supports cheaper, better quality homes.

Society director Richard Ward said: “In general, these are shameful figures revealing shocking failures of planning and purpose.

Most Read

“Local councils make a great show of the contributions they offer in facilitating low-cost housing. But these figures would suggest that once one gets beyond the rhetoric, there is even less action than in previous years.

“This is particularly serious, as the supply of council houses continues to diminish, due to tenants exercising their right to buy.”

The worst performing authority was Mid Suffolk, where no affordable homes were completed in 2004/05 - although the report stressed more than 100 properties were under construction.

Marie Smith, the district council's planning policy officer, said: “The figures are disappointing but we want to assure people we take affordable housing very seriously.

“At the time, there were a number under construction and we have put in measures to change these figures and ensure next time they will make much better reading.”

But the Suffolk Preservation Society singled out Babergh District Council, which recorded a 38% year-on-year increase in the number of affordable homes built, for praise.

The Society has now written to every local authority asking why the majority have seen a drop in the number of affordable homes being completed and asking for their latest estimates.

Belinda Godbold, Suffolk County Council's head of research and monitoring, said: “In terms of numbers, the figures show the 2004/05 period was not a good year.

“But that is exactly why we have picked out problems and are now working more effectively to pinpoint affordable housing in the pipeline. There are reasons to be optimistic in the future.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus