Southwold’s possible Neighbourhood Plan could restrict the number of second homes and holiday lets, emphasising the town is for full-time residents.

The referendum on the new plan, to 2036, will be held in February, and if adopted East Suffolk Council will use the plan when considering all future applications.

The issues focussed on include the loss of dwellings due to second home ownership and holiday lets, whilst increasing the number of affordable homes and helping residential parking issues.

Data published in 2015 showed that the average property price in Southwold was 21 times the earnings of the average resident, compared to an average of 7.03 for the rest of the county.

Southwold Cllr David Beavan said “Southwold will join Reydon with a residency clause so that all new buildings must be for full-time residents, although there is not much dry land left in Southwold which is rapidly becoming an island.

It is not a panacea for stopping second or holiday homes but it will help until we can make holiday homes a separate planning use class.”

An illustrative example of this is the 2013 Tibby’s Triangle development, on the site of the former Adnam’s distribution centre. Of the 38 homes, 10 of which were shared ownership, less than 10 years later almost all of the shared ownership homes are holiday lets.

The new plan seeks to stop instances such as this from occurring, with new policies proposed to ensure that new residences are solely used as principal residences. It also aims to deliver housing through a Community-Led Housing (CLH) Group, which has a legal ability to build permanently affordable housing.

The draft plan says a CLH Group must own, manage or steward homes in a manner it chooses, which includes establishing an allocations policy that’s consistent with its constitution.

Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for planning and coastal management said “Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to get directly involved with planning the areas in which they live and work, and I would encourage those living in Southwold to get involved and take part in the referendum next year.” 

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