Suffolk Housing Association opens affordable homes site in Great Barton in bid to keep people in village

Officials from Suffolk Housing, local councillors and tenants of the new scheme in Great Barton.

Officials from Suffolk Housing, local councillors and tenants of the new scheme in Great Barton. - Credit: Archant

Residents are settling in to ten new affordable homes in Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, with the scheme hoping to prevent local people being forced out of the rural village.

The £1.44million Bertuna Close development has seen four flats and six houses created on land off East Barton Road.

All of the properties have been let to local people with a connection to the village.

The Suffolk Housing Association built the homes, which opened during rural housing week, which is organised by the National Housing Federation.

The week, which started on July 6, is designed to raise awareness of the importance of affordable rural housing and the role it plays in safeguarding the economic and social wellbeing of rural England. It comes as figures released by the federation show house prices in rural Suffolk now stand at more than 12 times the income of a first-time buyer, while every district is recording a shortfall in the number of new affordable homes built during 2014/15.

Ian Winslet, chief executive of Suffolk Housing, said: “We have a strong tradition of supporting our rural communities by providing affordable housing so that people can remain living in the village of their choice.

“This is good news not only for the tenants themselves, but also for village life, as it helps maintain demand for key services such as shops, schools, post offices and pubs, in turn making them more viable.

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“The fantastic scheme at Great Barton is a shining example of what can be achieved when housing associations and local people work together to find solutions to address the housing shortfall.”

Philip Reeve, chairman of Great Barton Parish Council, said: “An affordable housing scheme was identified as a must in Great Barton. This scheme is the start of a journey, not only to maintain but to improve the vibrancy of Great Barton.”