Deal will see Council deliver much needed new homes

13 Jan 2021

A deal that will see much need homes delivered in part of West Suffolk and generate income to pay for council services, is nearing completion.

West Suffolk Council is set to complete the acquisition of part of The Triangle site between School Road, Mill Road and the A143 in Great Barton, from Suffolk County Council next month, having already exchanged contracts.

The purchase also gives West Suffolk first option on the remainder of The Triangle site, which is 10.5 hectares and could also be used to deliver housing.

The acquired site is already allocated for around 40 homes in the current St Edmundsbury Borough Council Local Plan while the Great Barton Neighbourhood Plan establishes the principle of building new homes on the larger site.

West Suffolk is working with the parish council and county council on a development brief which will cover both parts of The Triangle site including looking at what community infrastructure will be required. This will indicate how many homes are to be built. Once this is completed, West Suffolk will sell the site to its housing company Barley Homes (Group) Ltd to build the development including affordable housing.

The development once completed and sold, will generate income to help pay towards council services. Approximately 10 per cent of the council tax bill comes to West Suffolk Council and council tax only represents a fifth of the income the Council requires to deliver services.

Cllr Sara Mildmay-White said: “Housing is vital to our communities and our economy and we know that there is a need for more housing in West Suffolk and not just for affordable housing but housing for people of all ages and varying needs. It is about looking at how we play our part in delivering housing across West Suffolk to help people be able to stay in or near their network of family and friends where they grew up, move into more suitable housing as they get older, or move closer to their work supporting businesses in their recruitment. The principle of housing at these two sites has already been established. Through our ongoing work with the parish supporting its local ambitions for the delivery of local housing and supporting infrastructure, we are seeking to work collaboratively toward common goals. As a Barley Homes development, we will deliver on the new homes needed while the profits will help fund council services at a time when councils are facing even tougher challenges to their finances.”

Great Barton Parish Council, said: “Great Barton Parish Council and its Neighbourhood Plan Working Group through many consultations with its residents identified The Triangle site as the appropriate area for development.

“There has been a long association with Suffolk County Council (SCC) as the landowner to ensure the development complements the built character and environmental richness seen in other areas of the Parish. With West Suffolk Council alongside SCC actively working with Great Barton Parish Council we should be able to develop The Triangle to the objectives identified in the Neighbourhood Plan. The interesting challenge will be meeting the findings within the housing, built character and environmental objectives of the Plan in providing a quality housing mix of varying sizes (mainly 2-3 beds including bungalows) and tenure. This would produce starter and affordable homes, providing the opportunity for families to come to Great Barton and our residents to still enjoy Barton life by downsizing. 

“Development of the entire site will allow for the better green connectivity with adjoining areas and should provide much needed provisions for the pre and primary schools, as well as relieving the congestion on School Road. 

“This development has the potential for greater housing opportunities, increased leisure facilities not seen in Great Barton for a long time and the development of our schools for an expanding population.”

Cllr Nick Gowrley, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said, “We made it clear in our housing approach that we will always work closely with District and Borough councils as well as local communities, to develop residential sites where the opportunity presents itself. This commitment to collaboration means that we are able to ensure the right homes are built, in the right places and identify and add real social value to local communities.  Regarding the site at Great Barton we have been working closely with both WSC and the Parish Council over the past year to move plans forward and to explore local priorities and opportunities. Our teams are looking forward to continuing this work over the next 12 months, by which time we expect both the Development Brief and the Planning Application to be prepared for the site.”

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