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East Suffolk Council agrees affordable housing document



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East Suffolk Council has outlined its expectations on housing developers for creating new affordable homes.

The council’s cabinet unanimously agreed an affordable housing supplementary planning document (SPD) – a pamphlet which outlines current planning policies and asks of developers for the affordable homes portions of their sites.

The new plan replaces separate documents for Suffolk Coastal and Waveney, which are considered out of date having been created in 2004 and 2012 respectively.

East Suffolk Council building.
East Suffolk Council building.

The SPD said that the average house in East Suffolk is 8.39-times the average earnings, meaning market housing was not an option for many households.

Among expectations in the document are for registered providers to oversee affordable housing for rent, developers to engage with the council at an early opportunity to outline affordable housing needs, and spreading affordable homes across their sites.

In the Suffolk Coastal area, developments of 10 or more homes are expected to deliver a third as affordable homes, while the Waveney local plan says that should be 30% for 11 homes or more.

David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council. Picture: East Suffolk Council.
David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council. Picture: East Suffolk Council.

The exceptions are in Southwold and Reydon, where that number is 40 per cent, while Lowestoft and Kessingland are set at 20 per cent affordable.

Conservative cabinet member for planning, David Ritchie, said: “The affordable housing SPD provides guidance on a range of topics, including in relation to types of affordable housing, identifying an appropriate mix of affordable housing, the design of affordable housing , legal agreements, vacant buildings credit and carrying out local housing needs assessments.

“The affordable housing SPD does not provide new policies but rather seeks to provide guidance that will help with the implementation of relevant policies in the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney local plans.

“For developers, its really necessary to have clear guidance because affordable housing is a complicated area.

“On adoption, the affordable housing SPD will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.”

Peter Byatt from the opposition Labour group said the plan will be helpful for developers and planning application decision makers, and urged owners of brownfield sites to consider how they can help deliver affordable homes on their sites.