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Waterfront: Winerack may never be completed - says council leader

PUBLISHED: 12:44 26 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:44 26 February 2013

The incomplete Regatta Quay stands above the skyline in Ipswich

The incomplete Regatta Quay stands above the skyline in Ipswich

IT’S the town’s unwanted legacy of the recession – and the second tower of the ill-fated Regatta Quay development is unlikely to ever be completed.

That’s the view of borough leader David Ellesmere after a new report called for the government to encourage businesses to build new homes for rent – possibly by rescuing stalled schemes.

Whatever happens, Mr Ellesmere cannot see the day when people are living in the half-built tower – dubbed the wine rack.

“Every day that passes is a day closer to the wine rack being pulled down,” he said.

He was responding after the British Property Federation – a body which promotes the private rental sector – said the government should do more to encourage private investment in building homes for rent.

That call came after figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed that the number of new home starts in East Anglia fell significantly in 2012 – although nationally the numbers increased slightly.

Nationally the number of new home starts in 2012 increased by 1% compared with the previous year. However in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex the number of starts fell. Suffolk also saw a fall in the number of new homes completed.

In Ipswich work started on only 50 new homes last year.

Mr Ellesmere said he would not like to see investors encouraged to enter the private rented sector at the expense of social housing programmes like more council house building or housing association investments.

He said: “I am not convinced that encouraging the private investors into the rental housing sector would help here.

“What is needed in Ipswich is more social housing – which is why the council is leading the way on that.”

Should private companies be encouraged to build new homes for rent? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email starletters@archant.co.uk

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