Council: Extra houses will be found

PROPERTY owners who leave houses sitting idol without tenants for long periods will have them compulsorily purchased so they can be used to alleviate Ipswich's housing crisis.

PROPERTY owners who leave houses sitting idol without tenants for long periods will have them compulsorily purchased so they can be used to alleviate Ipswich's housing crisis.

That is the message from Ipswich Borough Council which has just secured the purchase and sale of a house which has sat empty for two decades.

The property at 94 Foxhall Road is now set to be demolished and replaced with six two-bedroom homes for families waiting on the housing register.

The purchase is a sign of the borough's new get-tough policy against landlords who refuse to make use of their properties.


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Steven Wells, the councillor with responsibility for housing, said: “At the last estimate there were 500 properties that are long-term empty in Ipswich.

“The problem with long-term empty properties is not only does it not contribute to the housing needs of the town, there's always a lot of side issues that go with it, such as anti-social behaviour, graffiti and vandalism.

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“We want to get these properties back into use as soon as possible.”

The borough council spent months negotiating the purchase of the property and in the end had to seek permission from the government to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order.

The council has now sold the property to social housing provider Circle Anglia, which has commissioned local builder RG Carter to demolish it and to build the new homes.

Keith Bunn, development manager for Circle Anglia, said: “Our contractor is preparing the site with the intention of starting work this month.

“We plan to demolish the existing derelict bungalow and garages, and re-develop the site into six family-sized houses, together with car parking and landscaping.”

The homes are due to be completed in the autumn. Three will be offered as part-buy, part-rent while the remaining three will be managed as affordable rent properties.

TWO properties have now been compulsorily purchased in Ipswich so that they can be used to alleviate the social housing shortage, and more could be on the way.

Ipswich Borough Council today stressed though that it would prefer to work with property owners rather than seizing their properties from them.

Steven Wells said: “If properties continue to cause issues over a sustained period of time we have no fear now of going all the way through to the Secretary of State and getting authorisation to purchase the properties under Compulsory Purchase Orders.

“The message to owners has been 'please come and work with us - we have 3,000 people on the housing register'.

“We can even talk with them about how to bring their property back up to scratch. There are grants available for things such as disabled adaptations.

“I do not want to be a mini police state, I want to work with these people.”

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