Babergh District Council says it is pleased to have received the support of the Government’s Communities Secretary, to accelerate the district’s plan for development in the years ahead.
Council leader John Ward, Babergh and Mid Suffolk chief executive Arthur Charvonia and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge met Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, last week, to discuss the area’s housing challenges.
The meeting centred around Babergh’s loss of its five-year land supply, meaning it was deemed not to be building enough homes, with a report published by the National Housing Federation saying the district faces a “housing crisis” due to the shortfall in new builds.
The district council argues it has granted permissions well above its target, but because of how development currently occurs, developers were only following through on a small proportion of these permissions.
Mr Ward said as a result of their meeting in Westminster, Mr Javid would provide resources to accelerate the delivery of Babergh’s local plan, and was willing to support them in using compulsory purchase orders on land if developers are “dragging their heels”.
He said: “It was a very positive meeting. The Secretary of State was sympathetic and is willing to support us to ensure that development is sustainable and that new homes are being built in the right places in Babergh.
“If we are able to put together a housing deal with partners, he has agreed to increase our housing revenue account borrowing headroom, so we can build more council homes.”
Mr Cartlidge added: “I think it was important for our council leadership to meet with the Secretary of State for Housing and express clearly concerns held in the constituency about speculative development.
“We are not a nimby community in South Suffolk, but we do want development to be agreed locally as far as possible, and to have a sense of control in determining where new development goes.
“For this, we need a five-year plan in place and, as finalising the overall local plan is the most important part of that, I am pleased the Secretary of State offered to help Babergh in accelerate the process of producing a plan.”