Progress on land supply by Mid Suffolk District Council ‘needs to be speeded up’

Mark Westley Photography
Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market. ANL-140710-214527009
Mark Westley Photography Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market. ANL-140710-214527009

The director of the Suffolk Preservation Society says Mid Suffolk District Council’s progress on identifying a five-year land supply for housing “needs to be speeded up.”

In a letter to the Diss Express Fiona Cairns said the society recognises the “efforts being made” by the authority, but said without a supply, more of the district’s communities “will fall victim” to “inappropriate” and “unsympathetic” housing schemes.

Without an approved supply of land identified for housing, more of Mid Suffolk’s communities will fall victim to inappropriate and unsympathetic housing schemes as developers use the absence of such a plan to overturn planning application refusals

Fiona Cairns

Nick Gowrley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said they were “working hard” to secure the supply, and added it was one of their strategic priorities to have one in place by 2017.

The letter from the Suffolk Preservation Society read: “We also accept that additional housing is inevitable given government policy – although that doesn’t mean that issues of design and impact can be ignored by them.

“Without an approved supply of land identified for housing, more of Mid Suffolk’s communities will fall victim to inappropriate and unsympathetic housing schemes as developers use the absence of such a plan to overturn planning application refusals.

“Cllr Nick Gowrley claimed that over the last year, the council has secured 3.7 years’ worth – up from just 3.3. This is to be welcomed. But at this slow rate of progress, more of the district will have been sacrificed by the time the full five years’ supply has been identified.

“Furthermore, even if Mid Suffolk’s Local Plan is in place next year as the Council claims it will be, the policies relating to housing supply will be silent until the five-year supply is in place!

“Until that is settled, communities such as those in Woolpit and Stowupland which are facing current applications which threaten to materially impact upon the setting of listed buildings (and in the case of the former the village conservation area) can draw little comfort from the situation.

“It would be interesting to hear from Mr Gowrley as to just how many staff Mid Suffolk is employing to work on its five-year land supply and whether more are needed in the short-term to improve the rate of progress.”