Six parishes are set to come together to help solve the need for affordable housing on the Wilford Peninsula.
The villages of Alderton, Bawdsey, Boyton, Hollesley, Shottisham and Sutton are joining together to set up Peninsula Villages Community Land Trust (PVCLT) – a not-for-profit organisation which will work with communities, landowners, housing associations, developers and the local authority to improve the availability of affordable accommodation in the area.
The group, run entirely by volunteer trustees, aims to identify sites suitable for building permanently affordable housing for rent; once built they will remain owned by the community forever.
A spokesperson from the PVCLT said:
"The Wilford Peninsula is a beautiful place to live, attractive to visitors and surrounded by unspoiled natural habitats and national heritage sites.
The total turnover of businesses on the Peninsula is approximately £30 million with two thirds attributed to farm production and the remaining £10 million attributed to businesses such as pubs, cafes, campsites, holiday lets and village shops.
The problem is, however, that many of the people who work here find the lack of suitable accommodation and house prices a barrier to living here – and local people who want to stay here are put off setting up businesses in the area for the same reason. Equally, some senior members of our community may want to move out of from their large houses but are unable to find something smaller which allows them to go on living in the area that they have made their home.
Our primary aim is to work collaboratively with housing associations to ensure that there is more affordable housing both for rent and as shared equity in our parishes. This will enable local people to live and work in our villages and, in turn, help to make our communities more sustainable.
We want to see an allocations policy which will ensure priority is given to individuals who have a strong personal link to the peninsula."
Welcoming the formation of PVCLT, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing, Cllr Richard Kerry, said:
“Providing much-needed homes, particularly affordable housing, is one of Suffolk Coastal’s key priorities. So we welcome this positive development on the Wilford Peninsula.”
It sums up the ‘can do’ attitude of our local communities, banding together to make a real difference to the housing situation in their area. We will do anything we can to support this, and similar initiatives, to help provide the affordable homes needed to allow local people to stay in the area and for our economy to continue to flourish.”
The PVCLT will be seeking funding for each project and will investigate grants from both national and local authorities and charities as well as commercial mortgages. Government funds can be available from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for coastal communities – providing the PVCLT with the opportunity to establish itself.
Once established the group will be inviting anyone over the age of 18 who lives or works within the six parishes to become involved.