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Suffolk needs more than 62,000 new homes built over next 20 years to meet demand, says report



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House building. Stock image (10447382)
House building. Stock image (10447382)

More than 62,000 new homes will be needed in Suffolk in the next 20 years according to latest figures, just to keep up with demand.

The State of Suffolk 2019 report has been published this week which assesses housing types, population figures, transport, employability, education, health and facilities across the county.

Data for housing revealed that in the next two decades 3,100 homes a year would be needed to meet current demand – more than 62,000.

While nine in every 10 homes were bungalows or houses, the report warned that an ageing population could mean a change in the types of homes needed in the future.

“Given the ageing population of Suffolk and the financial challenges facing the NHS and social care, it seems likely that more housing aimed at older people will be required in the future,” it said.

“The Housing for Older People Supply Recommendations [HOSPR] model is one methodology which provides local authorities with recommendations about the number of units of age-exclusive housing, specialist housing and care beds that will be needed in future years.

“An additional 9,713 age-exclusive homes, 15,213 specialist homes and 6,624 care beds will be required in Suffolk by 2035, according to HOSPR recommendations.”

District and borough councils across Suffolk, which have responsibility for housing, are in the process of drawing up local plans which will inform where the suitable areas for new homes are.

But Suffolk Preservation Society, which works to protect agricultural and greenfield land from development when brownfield sites are available, said local plans and parish council-led neighbourhood plans are needed to ensure building is sensitive to local needs.

Particular areas of concern were around Thurston and Sproughton, where vast numbers of homes were being proposed.

Fiona Cairns, director, said: “We should definitely be looking to build brownfield [sites] first.

“We know that’s far from easy to get developers to build where we want and I don’t think there is a silver bullet to that.

“There’s been deregulation of planning [from central government] and developers have definitely had the upper hand.

“Until local plans are up to date and can demonstrate a supply of housing, those in the countryside will be on the back foot.

“The parishes need to get their neighbourhood plans in place – that’s what we should all be focusing on, taking back control.”