Suffolk Coastal: Census shows high second-home ratio

FIGURES have revealed that a Suffolk district has one of the highest concentrations of second homes in the country.

Statistics from the 2011 Census, which was published yesterday, show Suffolk Coastal has a total of 124,298 “usual residents” while 7,819 people have a second home in the district. This places the district seventh highest in the top 20 planning authorities in England and Wales.

Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s cabinet member for planning, said the area had a thriving economy but that young people find it difficult to find starter homes.

“We are exceptionally fortunate in that we have a district with a thriving and vibrant economy, hosting major players of national significance alongside many local high quality entrepreneurial businesses of every size, but also at the same time, one of the most attractive natural environments anywhere in England,” he added.

“The latter of course brings further pressures on housing from those wishing to retire to or to own second homes in this delightful place.

“Our young people have found it increasingly difficult, if not impossible in many cases, to find homes in which to start out in life.

“It is not surprising therefore that major issues have arisen between the need to accommodate significant growth in the economy and the housing to support it, and the desire to preserve the unique quality of life we enjoy.”

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Mr Smith said the council was working to get new planning policies approved to encourage a growth in jobs and homes across the district, especially affordable homes for young people.

The figures also revealed that more than one-and-a-half million people in England and Wales have a second address that they use for more than 30 days of a year, while around 821,000 have a second home overseas. Other local authorities featured in the list include the City of London, Westminster, West Dorset and Scarborough.

Last week the East Anglian Daily Times reported that second homes and rental properties risk “taking the heart” out of Suffolk’s coast if they are left uncapped.

The debate has divided Aldeburgh and Southwold with many people upset about the number of empty properties, especially during the winter months, while business chiefs say the boom has increased trade and footfall for the towns.

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