March 11 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Correspondent
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Ipswich’s first new council homes in a generation are a downpayment on a Labour government, Ed Balls has claimed as he prepares to hand over keys today.
Ahead of a visit to the town, the shadow chancellor said the council was showing the way and would be used as example of what Labour is doing, both regionally and nationally.
Plans for the houses were backed by the Labour-run Ipswich Borough Council executive in June, and Mr Balls will visit Whitton Church Lane today to mark the completion of the first property.
The largest development is on land at Bader Close in Priory Heath, and there will also be new council homes on a small parcel of land off Coltsfoot Road on Chantry.
The scheme for 120 new homes has seen the borough council work with Orwell House Association, and the homes are being built by Norfolk building firm R G Carter.
Mr Balls said: “It is the first council housing built in Ipswich for 20 years. It is a downpayment on what Labour want to do and Ipswich Labour is showing the way.”
He also said that more affordable homes were needed if the country was to deal with its “cost of living” crisis.
“Even in the austerity of the Second World War the Labour government built homes for people, and we think this is a challenge for the next Labour government to build affordable homes,” he said.
Mr Balls emphasised that Labour house building would be done with “proper planning policies” and said that Labour would “protect the green belt”.
It comes after Labour leader Ed Miliband was accused by communities and local government minister Eric Pickles of wanting to “forcibly rip up green belt protection” when he said this week that councils should be given the power to override neighbouring “home-blocking” authorities and “land-hoarding developers” to build thousands of new homes.