Suffolk: Charity urges villages to do more to get more affordable housing built

SUFFOLK’S soaring need for affordable rural housing has prompted a charity to urge villages to do more to help resolve the issue.

Communities are being asked to get in touch and work with Suffolk ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) to get more affordable homes built.

The charity, which has helped build 304 homes in 32 rural Suffolk parishes since 2006, says the demand for “local needs” affordable housing - defined as being where the applicant has a connection with the parish - is outstripping supply.

It said Suffolk Coastal District Council last year saw a 52% rise in the demand for such housing to 1,613 households, while Forest Heath witnessed a 34% hike.

Wil Gibson, chief executive of Suffolk ACRE, said: “The future of rural communities is dependent on them having some expansion based on the local needs of residents. Local needs housing is the single most important driver for this and whist Suffolk ACRE is pleased to have reached the milestone of over 300 affordable homes, the demand for local needs housing is continuing to outstrip supply.

“Local needs housing can be met with negative opinions but many rural communities have identified local need housing as part of a solution, where just a small number of nice homes can help support more local services.”

Suffolk ACRE works with housing associations and parish councils to bring affordable housing projects to fruition.

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It said affordable housing built as part of private schemes did not necessarily go to people with links to the parish.

Among projects Suffolk ACRE has helped bring about is a six-home development in Ufford.

Phoebe Keeble, a tenant in one of the properties, said: “I have lived in the village for nearly 93 years and in the same home for most of that time. Now I have moved into my wonderful new bungalow, I’m very happy and comfortable, and can carry on living here in the community I know and love.”

To get in touch with Suffolk ACRE call 01473 345300.