Affordable homes are too pricey

MORE than 90 “affordable” homes in Ipswich are sitting empty - because they are unaffordable to the people who need them!That's the claim of the opposition Labour group on the borough - a claim which is backed up in a report to be discussed by the council's executive next Tuesday.

MORE than 90 “affordable” homes in Ipswich are sitting empty - because they are unaffordable to the people who need them!

That's the claim of the opposition Labour group on the borough - a claim which is backed up in a report to be discussed by the council's executive next Tuesday.

That reveals that the cost of moving into a “shared ownership” home - where the freehold is shared between the occupier and a housing association - averages 90 per cent of the cost of buying a new home.

And it adds that 80 per cent of those in need of social housing could never afford to move into a shared ownership property.


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But despite these figures, the borough is still set to approve guidelines that would see more than a third of new social homes being built on a shared ownership basis, rather than for rent.

The report, prepared by the council's head of strategic housing Sue Wythe, confirms that there is a serious imbalance in the new social homes currently being built.

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There is a serious need for three and four-bedroomed family houses, but the vast majority of new affordable homes are one and two-bedroomed flats.

The report says that in 2005/6 there was a need for 205 new four-bedroomed social homes in Ipswich - but just five were built.

In total the town needed 800 new social homes, but just 250 were built.

Labour group leader David Ellesmere said: “These figures show that claims by the administration that they are providing more social housing have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

“There's no point in building 'affordable' homes if no one can afford to live in them.”

Borough housing spokesman Steven Wells said many people did want to move into shared ownership homes - the important thing was to ensure that the right kind of homes were built.

“We have to take into account the fact that some people cannot afford shared ownership, but many do see it as a stepping stone on to the housing market - if the right kind of homes are built,” he said.

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