Bid to meet West Norfolk’s housing shortage

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A new development for nearly 40 affordable homes has been welcomed to help address the housing shortage in West Norfolk.

Builder E N Suiter and Sons wants to knock down a former office building and construct a total of 36 two-bedroom homes in Birch Tree Close, Lynn.

The town is crying out for more two-bedroom properties to help the scores of people who are struggling following the welfare reforms.

The developer has applied to West Norfolk Council to demolish a former office building and replace it with maisonnettes and flats.

The company’s Nick Suiter said the construction would probably take a year if planners approve the bid.

He said: “There is a real shortage of one and two bedroom properties in this area so hopefully this development will fulfil some of that need.”

The builder, which is based on the North Lynn Industrial Estate, hopes to start work as soon as possible.

Builders want to demolish a office building, which was last used by Norfolk County Council some years ago.

A total of 24 two-bedroom maisonettes could be built along with 12 two-bedroom flats for social housing.

Mr Suiter said it was not known which organisation will be eventually using the site.

The introduction of the “bedroom tax” which cuts housing benefits for those deemed to have spare bedrooms, has prompted many people to down size their homes.

One person who has welcomed the development is Linda Cox, of the Fenland People’s Assembly.

Last year, Mrs Cox organised a number of protests to fight against the welfare reforms.

She said the new development is “brilliant” for the town.

Mrs Cox said: “It is really good news.

“One and two bedroom properties are needed. Single people and some couples who don’t have children may still be at a disadvantage.

“But properties below three bedrooms are desperately needed in the town.”

Last summer, Freebridge Community Housing Association reported that 350 of its tenants had been forced into debt as a result of the bedroom tax.

At that time it had 86 households on a waiting list to downsize their home and 47 tenants have already taken that option.

No smaller homes were empty.