Construction under way at luxury £4.2m mobile home park
PUBLISHED: 06:31 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:45 06 November 2019
It is a quandary that has faced Suffolk for decades - how do you build more homes, yet make them affordable to those who need them?
But now, a millionaire Essex businessman believes the answer lies in different type of home.
Alfie Best is transforming a former scrapyard in Rookery Drove, Mildenhall into a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom homes.
The difference with these properties is that they are mobile park homes - assembled elsewhere and effectively installed onto plots once building work in completed.
It's something that might not immediately find favour with those familiar to the idea of traditional bricks and mortar.
But Mr Best, who has built 80 similar parks across the country as part his Wyldecrest Parks empire, believes concerns about the long-term viability of park homes are unfounded.
Rather than not lasting as long as standard homes, he assures buyers the 40 homes on the site will be built to the same standard as a timber house, with water, gas and mains electricity also working exactly the same.
There will also be three permanent employees on the site, a manager and two maintenance staff, to help residents when needed.
Billed as luxury living, Wyldecrest's park homes - which are marketed at the over 40s - can be more expensive than others.
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But with a price range of £79,000 to £199,000, Mr Best believes they represent a more affordable option for many - so much so that 12 have already been reserved while the area is still a building site.
"I want to find a solution to a problem to a problem which no-one else has found the solution to," he said during a visit to the site which currently employs 22 building contractors from Firms Services.
"Park home estates are true, five-star affordable housing.
"You can purchase a park home at 50% the value of a like-for-like traditional home.
"That allows people to downsize without downsizing - and free up an awful money."
That, he believes, means residents of the new Rookery Drove Retreat will be able to spend more in the community once the site is completed in January 2020 - particularly as park homes are also free of stamp duty.
The majority of park homes also come under the cheapest council tax level, Band A.
More people moving into park homes could also free up other much-needed housing, he added.
He concedes that "the government are more for housing estates than they are for park home living" - but said: "There's no limit to what we can do in terms of affordable housing.
"This needs to be recognised as one of the solutions, if not the solution, to affordable housing."