Ipswich: Prefabs set to be given another new lease of life

Prefab houses on Inverness Road,Ipswich. Prefab houses on Inverness Road,Ipswich.

Friday, January 24, 2014
12:34 PM

Ipswich council’s stock of prefabs are to be given a new lease of life – nearly 50 years after the end of their planned life!

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Welcome for prefab refurbishment from residents

Residents living in Inverness Road welcomed the news that the council is to spend money on their homes – but some felt there were other priorities rather than repairing roofs or installing a new kitchen.

Keith and Brenda Hill have lived in the road for 23 years and there have been modifications to their home because Mrs Hill has a disability.

Mr Hill said: “They’re already dealing with a new kitchen and bathroom, but I don’t know about doing anything to roof.

“The roofs have asbestos in them so they would need specialist workers to deal with it.”

Nicky Maloney has only moved to the area recently and likes the neighbourhood – although agreed that the homes could do with updating.

“I don’t really like the way the door opens straight into the kitchen on this side of the road. If they do something about that it would be really good.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said he did nor feel there was anything wrong with the homes – but there should be attention to the verges which have turned to mud caused by cars parking on them.

He said: “I have to use a wheelchair and I sometimes have to go to the end of the road and come back because I cannot get over the mud.”

Gillian Harrison moved to Inverness Road just under three years ago, and was delighted to hear the homes would be improved.

“I am very happy here. It is nice and quiet and the homes are good because they’re all on the level. I am glad they’re planning to improve them,” she said.

The prefabs were put up in the late 40s as an emergency response to the housing crisis after the Second World War.

They were designed to have a life of 15-20 years, but half a century after they should have started being replaced they remain very popular.

Ipswich council has 127 prefabs in the Inverness Road area. Another 15 were bought by their tenants under right-to-buy legislation.

They remain very popular with many tenants who like their bungalow layout – and the large gardens that come with them.

Now the borough is planning to give them a new lease of life by giving them new roofs, installing new kitchens and bathrooms, and improving insulation.

The vote of confidence in the homes comes less than a year after Conservative councillor Judy Terry caused widespread concern by suggesting that the area should be redeveloped and the prefabs demolished.

The borough councillor with responsibility for housing, John Mowles, said the work should further extend the prefabs’ life – but it was not possible to say by how long at this point.

He did not want to put a figure on the cost of the work, but we understand more than £600,000 has been allocated to the renewal programme.

Mr Mowles said: “People love their homes in that part of the town, and while we are not guaranteeing they will always be there, it seems sensible to carry out the work to extend their lives at this time.

“We are building new homes in other parts of the town. It doesn’t seem sensible to start knocking down those homes at this stage.”

However opposition housing spokeswoman Mrs Terry insisted it would make more sense to redevelop the area, providing more homes and community facilities.

She said: “I know a lot of tenants struggle to deal with their large gardens and the houses themselves are difficult to heat – many have gaps around the windows.

“Some tenants do love them, but I’ve heard from many who would like to have a modern house in the area, but are afraid to say anything for fear of upsetting their neighbours.”

She said it would be possible to build a very sheltered housing development as well as a large number of traditional homes in the area – and possibly a new community shop as well.

“This is not a long-term solution. Eventually the prefabs will have to be replaced and it would make sense to make that decision now.”

Councillors and officials are due to visit the are on Monday to speak to residents to find out how they would like their homes improved.

12 comments

  • Let's hope the council don't google earth this plot and realise what a money maker it could be.

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    Lee Davies

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Not a great deal with the amount of asbestos on it

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    Joe bloggs

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • KNOCK THEM DOWN. 15 privately owned. AND???? If you are stupid enough to buy what is technically a shed to live in that is your problem. Redevelop the whole area its mostly old folk that live in them. Just goes to show what the council thinks of people some of which fought for the freedom of this country so we can have a so called democracy, doesnt it give them a shed to live in it'll be fine they lived in trenches in the war. REALLY. Come on star use your so called INFLUENCE and get the place sorted.

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    Joe bloggs

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • Other issues that aren't mentioned, they are constructed with asbestos material; and they work they are scheduled to carry out is going to last a maximum of 10years. This is insane especially when developers have already offered significant sums to re-develop. This council like wasting our money.

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    Rory Breaker

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • I agree with councillor Terry, these need to be redeveloped. The local council are wasting more taxpayers money by "doing them up". The plots some of these are set in could easily accommodate two maybe three properties, they could be super energy efficient too as opposed to the sheds that currently stand. The long term vision from the Labour council is disgusting, spending 600k which will no doubt become over 1 million is insane! Please please can people start to fight these plans?! we live in a modern democracy and we are not heard. Do you want your money wasted like this?? I certainly don't. This is prime redevelopment land that could meet the needs of those on the housing list...

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    Rory Breaker

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • I can see both sides of the arguments but what about the 15 prefabs that are now privately owned? No doubt they will be scattered about in the area rather than in a block. If you go ahead and demolish the 127 and build new (possibly more) properties on the land and then leave the odd 15 alone or do a compulsory purchase on them? I have not been in one of these prefabs for a few years so I do not know what condition they are in now.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • On just about each of the plots it would be possible to construct 3 new houses. I KNOW FOR A FACT that the true cost of maintenance is exhobitant. Yes people like living there but there comes a time when the head should rule the heart. Demolish them rehouse the tenants, compensate the owner occupants and rebuild.

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    Occold335

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • The star are left wing all the way! The local council are Labour too thus they will never support right wing realism and sensible strategy. The local government could earn millions by selling to a developer (approx 4million) they would remain as housing addociation for those in need and the cash generated could be used on other community projects.

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    Rory Breaker

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • So history repeats it's self How many little terrace houses the council demolished in the 60's and 70's which today would now be deemed to be refurbishable and supply starter homes.House were demolished to make way for a multi story car park 30+ years later this was demolished. It seems the council has only one answer DEMOLISH!

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    cyclopath

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • A couple of key points I forgot to mention.. 1. Due to the sheer cost of redevelopment, this decision will be subject to the European tendering process, so expect 6months to a year before anything happens! 2. This decision has been made without any formal survey being carried out on individual properties, so how do they know what's needed and how much it will cost? 3.As the properties contain asbestos the tenants will have to be rehoused throughout the development. Yes there is a need for bungalows and housing suited to those with disability. yet this strategy is all wrong. It is merely convenient timing this close to local elections for the Labour councillors. I would say read between the lines and see through their strategy (or lack of!)

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    Rory Breaker

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

  • These absolutely have to be demolished and the land redeveloped - as with the likes of Selkirk Road in the 80's. It just does not make any sense whatsoever to keep them going. Complete waste of tax payers money!!

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    Blue Jerboa

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • @ king G ips You are perfectly correct there my mistake. forgot that the star wouldnt support such a logical thing, being totally left wing. Maybe they could just deck the area out and put up a nice ugly metal contraption ( they call it a sculpture) for everyone to look at. Then they could move the market up there too. Everyone happy problem solved

    Report this comment

    Joe bloggs

    Friday, January 24, 2014

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

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