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Ipswich: Council houses debate reawakened as MP claims borough’s demands over affordable homes are putting developers off

12:12 15 August 2014

Work starts on the first new council houses in Ipswich for 20 years. David Ellesmere in the digger.

Work starts on the first new council houses in Ipswich for 20 years. David Ellesmere in the digger.

Archant

As work on the first new council estate in Ipswich for a generation is due to get under way, its construction marks a shift in policy on new “social” or “affordable” homes.

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For the last 30 years new social housing has been built alongside owner-occupied properties, to avoid the creation of council housing “ghettos.”

However since the recession the number of affordable homes being built has fallen – and recent changes to legislation has allowed local authorities to build again.

Ipswich Council has already built a small number in Whitton and Chantry, but work is about to start on a 100-home estate at Bader Close on Priory Heath.

There are also plans for new developments at Ulster Avenue, Ravenswood, and Bramford Road.

Labour council leader David Ellesmere said it was necessary for the council to build new homes because private sector builders were reluctant to build enough affordable homes because they were not profitable enough.

He said: “Changes brought in by the current government have made it easier for developers to get out of building affordable homes, so as we now have the right to build on our land that is the only way to get much-needed affordable homes built.”

The new homes were badly needed and would be welcomed by many people on the housing waiting lists or in expensive private rented homes, he added.

His comments were disputed by Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer who said: “It is not true that the government has made it easier for developers to get out of building affordable homes.

“I voted to allow councils to build again. The problem with Ipswich is that the council insists on such a high proportion of affordable homes that they put developers off – it’s one of few places where the number of new home starts fell last year.”

Conservatives on the borough also suspect that the new council homes have been built to help boost the Labour vote in parts of the town.

Opposition leader Nadia Cenci said: “The new estates like that planned for Ravenswood will be separate from the rest of the area, and that has caused deep concern.”

However Mr Ellesmere did not accept that the new council homes would remain apart from the rest of the area – and would eventually become indistinguishable from their neighbours.

He said: “Over time council estates become mixed estates as some tenants are likely to exercise the right to buy.”

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9 comments

  • ---you do not need to be too intelligent---

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    keith hawes

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • You know you need to be too intelligent to understand that Private sector homes should sit side my side with council homes. it NEVER works and no normal private investor will want to commit to a large deposit and big mortgage knowing that the neigh bough is living in subsidised rent accommodation. Its not a snobbish attitude its just plain common sense, but then you wouldn't expect IBC officials or Labour councillors to understand common sense discussions , they have little or no knowledge how population of this country thinks anymore!!!...only political correctness!!!!

    Report this comment

    keith hawes

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • Blue & White your talking out of your rear end ,, I am unfortunate to live amongst social housing ,,( not my choice as I bought my property off plan and it didn't show this at the time ) since being in my property I have had new fencing put up which the housing association had to pay for after their tenant's knock it down , across the road their's a single person living in a three bedroom housing association house ( housing shortage ?? ) chuck all her wine bottle's in the driveway , Never again will I buy a property where their is social housing again thank you ,,and I don't vote Tory

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • IBC Housing Dept ! Re Roofed the whole of Rope Walk for no real reason , all tiles were perfectly ok but they just skipped them , well not all as some were sold by the contractors , replaced windows in UPVC but were single glazed etc ! Affordable housing .... mmmm give me the planning consent and i'll build affordable houses , gardens , off road parking 23 beds for under £120k -£140k anywhere . Sell me the land i will only build these type of houses (Guaranteed) , i have two children who cannot afford their own homes at these prices . Big Developers get all the land and make the absolute maximum profit possible , not mine , but i can't get the land !

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • The majority of affluent Suffolk homeowners who don't want "affordable" housing in their own tidy backyards, are Conservative voters. Enough said.

    Report this comment

    blue&white

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • This is great, welcome news and all, but 'affordable' homes are anything but and still out of the reach of the average hardworking couple, or barely in reach in our case. With a tiny three-bedroom house costing around £170,000, a 5% deposit (if you're lucky enough) will set you back £8500 plus another £2k of associated purchase and moving in costs, plus you need to furnish the place... Or you might be offered a shared ownership deal and the handcuffs that go along with it like, for example a higher mortgage rate. And with interest rates that can only go in one direction I'm fearful for the future of not just myself but any first time buyer.

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    Ipswichite

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • It's not that affordable housing isn't profitable enough it's just that more profit for the same effort can be achieved by not building them. Perhaps councils should be allowed to take over development sites where developers didn't want to build affordable homes so that any profits could feed back into building more houses. Right to buy should also be curtailed by removing the discount element or preventing them to be subsequently rented out for more than the affordable rent that a council or social housing organisation would charge.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • While we are on the subject, does Ipswich Borough Council know how many of their 'former' Council Homes are now owned by Private Investors ?, it would be extremely interesting to know !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, August 15, 2014

  • "Over time Council Estates become mixed estates as some tenants are likely to exercise the right to buy" !, this particular law brought in by thatcher has caused the biggest shortage of Social Housing ever ! and should be 'Revoked' ! otherwise you are fighting a losing battle !, only yesterday a London Borough reported that they were spending £500,000 per year renting back Council Homes from 'Investors' that they had previously sold !, and they added that it did not seem right !, I can only agree !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, August 15, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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