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Borough hopes to build more council houses in Ipswich early next year

PUBLISHED: 15:42 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:42 21 November 2017

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber with council leader David Ellesmere and other members of the borough borough team at the topping out ceremony in Widgeon Close. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber with council leader David Ellesmere and other members of the borough borough team at the topping out ceremony in Widgeon Close. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

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Bosses at the borough in Ipswich are hoping to hear good news from the Chancellor in Wednesday’s budget when it comes to building new council homes.

They are already making plans to build more homes in the town next year – although strict rules from the Department for Local Government mean the council also has to build home for sale at the same time.

Council leader David Ellesmere was celebrating the construction of the latest new homes when he went to the topping out ceremony of five new houses at Widgeon Close in the Chantry area of the town.

But he was frustrated by the small scale building it is currently confined to: “As a result of a government decision on the proposed new homes at Ravenswood we are not able to build more than 15 new council houses without also building new homes for sale or for market rent.

“That is frustrating but we have set up a new council-owned company, Handford Homes, to do that in Ipswich.”

He hopes that will allow the development at Ravenswood to go ahead next year – along with a proposal for a new development on the former Took’s bakery site on the Old Norwich Road in the Whitton area of the town.

Mr Ellesmere joined mayor Sarah Barber and portfolio holder for housing Neil MacDonald at Widgeon Close which is being built at the same time as a pair of new homes are going up at Ainslie Road between London Road and Norwich Road.

He said: “Building council homes is a top priority for this council and it is important that both large and small sites are developed to provide much needed accommodation.

“Funding cuts to housing associations mean that we are the only organisation building new social housing in Ipswich and we shall continue to do so to ensure people who cannot get on the property ladder or afford spiralling private rents can have a quality home.”

The council had wanted to build 94 council homes on land it owns at Ravenswood. After they were given planning permission the decision was overturned by the Secretary of State for Local Government even though his planning inspector had backed the plans. Residents had objected to the council homes, saying they wanted a mixed development instead.

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