New council houses in Ipswich near completion
PUBLISHED: 17:18 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 25 June 2019
Work to build new council houses in Ipswich for those who cannot afford to buy their own home or pay private rent levels is almost finished.
Ipswich Borough Council is building 17 new homes on the site of a former gospel hall site in Cauldwell Hall Road, with 15 being two-bedroom houses.
It comes after the authority pledged to increased its council house building programme in the town to provide homes for those less well off, with leader David Ellesmere saying: "We know buying a house is out of reach for many people but even renting is now in danger of becoming unaffordable.
"We need to build more houses and, in particular, more council houses at social rents bring down housing costs."
At a topping out ceremony for the new homes - which also include a one-bedroom flat and a bungalow - Neil MacDonald, portfolio holder for housing and health at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "It is great to see how work has progressed and exciting to think that it won't be long now before tenants will be able to move into their new homes.
"Developing small sites like this not only complements our larger council house-building programme, it also improves the local communities by replacing often derelict spaces with new homes for rent.
"We have an ambitious target to build affordable homes and the best way we can achieve that is by building them ourselves.
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"We want to help people who cannot get on the property ladder, or afford private rents, to have a quality home of their own."
Darren Webb - managing director of Needham Market-based Mixbrow Construction, which is building the homes - said: "The site has been very busy over recent months.
"We have had over 30 contracting businesses - most of them local - carrying out nearly every element of construction work from ground works, bricklaying and carpentry, to roofing, plumbing and electrics, plastering and hard and soft landscaping.
"Our relationship with Ipswich Borough Council goes back several years and we're delighted to be on track to deliver this important scheme, which when completed later this year, will provide much-needed new council houses in the town."
The council is also building a series of new council homes on the old Tooks bakery site, which has been derelict for several years.
In his column for this newspaper last week, Mr Ellesmere said of the new council homes: "Moving into these homes - with affordable rents, low heating costs and secure tenancies - will transform the lives of more than 90 families.
"And we are actively working on plans for several hundred more homes.
"But with thousands of people on the waiting list in Ipswich alone, we know that even the most ambitious council house building programme in Suffolk is only going to scratch the surface.
"A comprehensive, government-backed, national council house building programme is the only way we're going to make real inroads into this problem."