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Rising rents and house prices in St Edmundsbury are 'a real concern' for young people

Marham Park development, off Mildenhall Road Bury st Edmunds Picture Mark Westley. (2683767)
Marham Park development, off Mildenhall Road Bury st Edmunds Picture Mark Westley. (2683767)

Rising rents and house prices in St Edmundsbury are creating ‘an impossible situation’ for young people, a Green councillor has said.

Borough councillor Julia Wakelam described the situation as ‘shocking’ and called for more social housing to be built in the area.

“We have just got to start building social housing, not affordable housing which just means the developers can get a bit of extra money,” she said.

“We want housing that people can afford to rent and some of the wages around here make even that very difficult. We need to stop thinking that everyone needs to own their own house. We should be focussing instead on everyone having a secure home because unless they have that, they can’t work and can’t educate their children.

“We have a completely disfunctional housing policy in this country and we should be ashamed of ourselves.”

This comes after statistics released by the Data Valuation Agency showed that the monthly median rental price in St Edmundsbury is now £750 – a rise of 15.4 per cent in the last five years, which is higher than the national average.

Meanwhile, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that, while rent prices have increased, house prices in the area are also on the up, with the average property being sold for almost £280,000, which is significantly higher than the UK average of £226,906.

The ONS also found that while home owners in the area would have seen the values of their properties rise by £83,000, first time buyers are paying around £66,000 more than they would have five years ago.

“For some young people, their only hope of getting on the property ladder is to get some help from their parents but not everyone is that lucky and it’s an impossible situation for some people,” said Cllr Wakelam.

Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, deputy leader and portfolio holder for housing at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said that this presented the council with a ‘double edged sword’

“On the one hand it shows the strength of our local economy and how popular West Suffolk is as a place to live. On the other hand the ability for people, particularly young people to get on the housing ladder or rent a home is a real concern,” she said.

“Our role as a council is to ensure that we have land available for housing growth and it has always been a priority for us to have a local plan and be able to demonstrate our five year land supply. We continue to lobby for funds and invest ourselves for some of the necessary infrastructure to support the delivery of new homes and the development at Marham Park and housing adjacent to the Suffolk Business Park are good examples of this.

“Alongside this we work with developers and registered social landlords to ensure that these developments support our 30% affordable homes policy. We are reviewing our housing strategy which will be published later this year and will wet out our approach for the future in more detail.”

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