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Local plan for West Suffolk focuses on tackling lack of affordable homes

A blueprint aiming to deliver over 13,000 homes in West Suffolk by 2040 and tackle the lack of affordable housing has taken a major step forward.

West Suffolk Council’s local plan is the document outlining planning policies, guidance and proposals for new developments within the district, effectively dictating the council's aims on housing and employment.

It came before cabinet members on Tuesday, after two extensive rounds of consultation in 2020 and 2022, where it was recommended for full council approval on December 19.

West Suffolk House
West Suffolk House

One of the key policies included in the document is increasing the current affordable housing requirement for new homes to be built on greenfield sites, to be set at 40 per cent.

Across the county, Waveney's local plan is the only one to match this figure, specifically for housing developments in Southwold and Reydon.

Cllr Jim Thorndyke, cabinet member for planning at West Suffolk Council, said this measure shows the council's concerted effort to address the need for affordable housing in West Suffolk and expects other districts to follow suit.

Cllr Jim Thorndyke
Cllr Jim Thorndyke

He added: “This local plan is about the people that we are elected to serve.

"It’s about our growing communities and ensuring that as people’s children or grandchildren grow up, they can find a home of their own."

In total, the proposed local plan allocates sites for a total of 14,588 new homes, a deliberate over-allocation to allow for flexibility and make sure the number of houses it needs to deliver, at 13,702, is achieved.

These new builds will be bolstered by policies to deliver sustainable housing through measures such as including solar panels on roofs wherever practically possible.

The plan also makes a provision for 86 hectares for employment growth, 47.9 of which are new allocations.

Should it be approved by the full council, the plan will undergo a final legal test consultation early next year before being submitted to the Secretary of State.