Suffolk Coastal’s housing land supply is growing but still not yet enough

Martello Park, Felixstowe, by Bloor Homes - one of many new housing developments across the Suffolk

Martello Park, Felixstowe, by Bloor Homes - one of many new housing developments across the Suffolk Coastal district. - Credit: Archant

Despite hundreds of new homes having been approved across the district, Suffolk Coastal is still falling short of its duty to provide a five-year supply of land for housing.

Planning officers have constantly warned that without such a supply of homes – plus five per cent on top – identified or granted permission developers have the upper hand when it comes to seeking consent for new developments.

More often than not, Government rules in favour of housing needed countrywide and to keep the economy growing.

Latest figures show that Suffolk Coastal now has a 4.3-year supply, a considerable growth from two years ago when it stood at 2.6 years.

However, it still needs to meet the threshold to be sure of having the greater control over where it believes housing should go.

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Developments agreed so far have included 190 homes agreed at Walton Green South in Felixstowe, 200 at Ferry Road, Old Felixstowe, 39 homes at Darsham, 160 in Saxmundham with another 145 on the table, 140 in Framlingham, 20 at Charsfield, 26 at Wenhaston, plus development at Martlesham, and in-fill projects in many small villages.

The numbers are mounting up but the district has to provide around 7,000 new homes by 2027, with 1,520 of them in the district’s market towns.

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Even major schemes currently under consideration – 100 homes at Mount Pleasant Farm and 163 at Fairfield Road, both in Framlingham – will not be sufficient to enable the council to achieve its five-year land supply, though they would make a “significant contribution towards meeting that deficit”.

In a report, planning officer Kathryn Oelman said: “The essential duty of the council to significantly boost housing supply and the demonstrable lack of a five-year land supply which applies over the district are powerful material planning considerations which promote sustainable development proposals.

“It is not defensible to resist development in these circumstances on the basis that alternative brownfield land should come forward first, the council must boost housing supply and should promote delivery of all sustainable development.”

Without the five-year supply, there is “very limited scope” to defend a defined distribution of housing within a specific settlement, where the site can be considered as sustainable, or win an appeal.

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