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Are new flats really the answer?

PUBLISHED: 10:07 22 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 March 2010

ALL these new plans for luxury flats and town houses in the Waterfront and Ipswich Village area look very attractive.

But like many people in the town, I am very doubtful how many of them will ever happen – is there really the demand for hundreds more luxury flats in the town?

If people can afford to spend £200,000 on a home, wouldn't most rather have a five-bedroomed house and garden on the outskirts than a two-bedroomed flat, however comfortable, overlooking the marina?

I know that some people, especially young high-earners, don't want the hassle of maintaining a large house and garden and would welcome the chance of buying a comfortable flat

ALL these new plans for luxury flats and town houses in the Waterfront and Ipswich Village area look very attractive.

But like many people in the town, I am very doubtful how many of them will ever happen – is there really the demand for hundreds more luxury flats in the town?

If people can afford to spend £200,000 on a home, wouldn't most rather have a five-bedroomed house and garden on the outskirts than a two-bedroomed flat, however comfortable, overlooking the marina?

I know that some people, especially young high-earners, don't want the hassle of maintaining a large house and garden and would welcome the chance of buying a comfortable flat.

But are there really hundreds of such people looking for homes in the Ipswich area?

According to a new survey from construction giant Taylor Woodrow, there might just be.

They reckon that over the next decade, more and more people are going to want to move back into Britain's town and city centres.

They won't want to have to drive or catch a train to work – they'll want to walk there and be near to all the leisure facilities.

If this survey is right, then the developers planning to build new blocks of flats around the Ipswich Waterfront will be rubbing their hands with delight.

So will the town planners and transport gurus who are trying to persuade us to leave our cars at home and not cause congestion on the streets.

But much as everyone would love to see this utopia happening, I have to sound a note of caution.

The survey, promoted by a development company, might be saying that – but knowing human nature and this part of the country, I just cannot believe that everyone is desperate to move into town.

I'm still convinced that the majority of people aspire to move into houses with gardens where their children can run around.

SO hunt supporters in Suffolk are vowing to fight on to save bloodsports after the House of Commons voted for a ban.

That's their right – but the vast majority of people in this country, and this county, will hope they fail in the battle.

It's only right that they should fail, any other result will be a failure of democracy.

The House of Commons, voted in by the people of this country, voted by more than two to one to outlaw this barbaric pastime.

The House of Lords, elected by no one, voted for it to remain. The government should now have the courage to stand up to this unelected body and force through the legislation that the country wants to abolish hunting with dogs.

What is Mr Blair and his cabinet afraid of?

Opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that most people want hunting banned.

The vast majority of MPs – including the Prime Minister and most of the cabinet – want hunting banned.

Why doesn't he tell the House of Lords that's what the public want, he'll invoke the Parliament Act to over-ride their wishes and get rid of this barbarism from the countryside?

MY comments about parish councils last week seem to have rattled a few cages – especially in the Claydon, Bentley, and Kesgrave areas.

In fact it looks as if I'll be visiting a few lucky parish council meetings over the next few months to see these bastions of local democracy at work.

But let's be clear about my criticisms last week – I didn't say parish councillors don't do anything. I didn't say that none were trained.

I said that parish councils don't achieve anything. That's partly their fault, it's partly the fault of other councils who don't listen to them.

Wherever the fault lies, it means that there is no point to them.

I've been to my fair share of parish and town council meetings. I've never met a councillor at any of these who has any motivation other than doing the best for his or her community.

But they do spend an awful lot of time discussing things they have nothing to do with, or making points that are totally irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Planning is a classic issue – they look at planning applications, but usually have no real knowledge of planning law.

They recommend approval or rejection based on a gut feeling – and then appear hurt when their opinion is ignored by planners at the district council who have to look at legal reasons before coming to a decision.

In these circumstances their meetings are pointless – they cannot change anything.

And while they might organise nice floral displays, maintain war memorials and footpaths, how many meetings does it take to get these things done?


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