Council sets developers affordable housing expectations for east Suffolk projects

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for coastal management, David Ritchie. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

East Suffolk Council cabinet member, David Ritchie. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

New major housing developments in Beccles and Bungay should designate 30pc to affordable housing, a council has said.

East Suffolk Council's cabinet this week unanimously agreed to an affordable housing supplementary planning document (SPD) - a pamphlet which outlines current planning policies and asks of new developers for the affordable homes portions of their sites.

The SPD said the average house price 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 Waveney, the local plan says developments of 11 or more should allocated 30pc for affordable housing, while in Suffolk Coastal developments of 10 or more are expected to deliver a third as affordable homes.

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

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separate documents for Suffolk Coastal and Waveney, which were created in 2004 an 2012 respectively and were considered out of date.

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Councillor David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning, said: "The affordable housing SPD provides guidance on a range of topics, including in relation to types of affordable housing, identifying an appropriate mix, the design, 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, it is 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."

Councillor 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.