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Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils reveal their housing land supply figures

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Mid Suffolk has nearly double the minimum five-year land supply required according to latest figures.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils have set out their annual land supply statements, with Babergh reporting a housing land supply of 6.86 years while Mid Suffolk has 9.54 years.

Councils require a minimum of a five year land supply of specific and deliverable sites to demonstrate they can meet housing requirements.

Endeavour House in Russell Road, Ipswich. Headquarters of Suffolk County Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils. Picture: JASON NOBLE LDRS
Endeavour House in Russell Road, Ipswich. Headquarters of Suffolk County Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils. Picture: JASON NOBLE LDRS

Areas where land supply is below five years means planning officers and committees have to weigh in favour of approving developments, which can open the door to speculative applications.

David Burn, Conservative cabinet member for planning at Mid Suffolk, said: “I know that how and where development takes place is incredibly important to us all and can have a significant impact on our facilities and landscape.

“This draft housing land supply statement for Mid Suffolk identifies a robust supply of housing land that is anticipated to come forward in the next five years in line with Government expectations.”

Cllr David Burn
Cllr David Burn

Clive Arthey, Independent cabinet member for planning at Babergh, added: “This is excellent news for our communities and demonstrates that we are on track with housing supply in the district, allowing all Babergh residents to live in affordable and high-quality homes that enable them to build settled, safe and healthy lives.”

But the opposition Green and Liberal Democrat (GLD) group at Mid Suffolk has raised fears about the long term impact of running at double the minimum rate.

Andrew Stringer, shadow planning spokesman with the GLD group, said: “To be in a position where we are delivering almost double the yearly requirement is a strong position, but it does suggest that Mid Suffolk’s housing market could be overheated, or there has been significant pent-up demand.

“Either way if we continue to build double our government-imposed housing target, there is a risk we will fall short of supply in years to come, leaving us once again open to even more government sanctioned unplanned development.”

Andrew Stringer
Andrew Stringer

As well as demonstrating a five-year land supply, community and parish-developed neighbourhood plans and the district council local plan are other key documents to stop opportunistic development and ensure homes are built in the right places.

The joint local plan for Babergh and Mid Suffolk has been in the examination phase with the Planning Inspectorate, but has been paused while some issues in need of further work are ironed out.

Neighbourhood plans are developed at the behest of communities, usually steered by a town or parish council or a community working group.

The housing land supply position statements are open for consultation until December 17, and if no problems arise are given weight in planning decisions.

The new figures supersede last year’s statement of 6.75 years at Babergh and 7.76 years at Mid Suffolk.

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