Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have secured over £440,000 in grants to help local communities deliver housing in their area.
This funding will help communities build the capacity to identify housing need and housing potential in their area and bring community led developments forward. As the first instalment of a five year funding programme from the DCLG, this capacity will allow community led developments to be identified and developed with additional funding over the next four years.
The funding, which totals £189,741 for Babergh and £225,476 for Mid Suffolk, was secured from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The higher sum was secured for Mid Suffolk due to analysis by the DCLG on the number of second homes in each district. In addition a further £15,000 has been secured for each district (totalling £30,000) from the DCLG’s Custom Build Programme. Both funding streams are part of the government’s national £3bn home building fund announced in the Autumn Statement last year.
Council officers are currently looking at a number of ways to best use the funding to empower communities to build this capacity. The councils will work closely with community-led housing groups and other stakeholders – such as the Community Land Trusts network and the Home and Communities Agency – to put the right tools in place to ensure efficient delivery of new houses over the coming years.
The Lavenham Community Land Trust is an example of one of these groups in action, who have obtained planning permission for a new housing scheme in Harwood Place, Lavenham with Partners Hastoe Housing Association. This new funding will allow other communities across Babergh and Mid Suffolk to follow this example and bring forward housing in their areas.
Tom Barker, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ Assistant Director – Planning for Growth, said: “With a growing and aging population our housing needs are changing across Babergh and Mid Suffolk. This funding will help communities to identify potential housing in their area, putting more power in the hands of the people who know our towns and villages best.
“We will be discussing this new funding and how to utilise it with our town and parish councils over the coming months.”