Gummer and Ellesmere clash horns after Ravenswood council homes call-in

Ravenswood estate. Ipswich

Ravenswood estate. Ipswich

A controversial proposal by Ipswich council to build nearly 100 homes on Ravenswood has been called in by ministers.

The proposal to build 94 homes near Ravenswood School has prompted anger on the estate which has been a mixed development of private and social housing since construction started 15 years ago.

The proposal was given planning permission by the borough last month, but now that decision has been “called in” by the Department of Communities and Local Government because ministers believe the decision may have breached government policy.

The letter says the government needs to be convinced that the development will: “Widen opportunities for home ownership and create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities.”

The Planning Inspectorate will now look again at the decision and take evidence from the council and other interested parties in a process that is likely to take several months to carry out.

Mr Gummer said Ipswich was one of only a very few local authorities that were going ahead with building large-scale council housing estates – which was contrary to all the guidelines calling for social housing to be integrated with private homes.

He said: “I am pleased that the Secretary of State has decided to call this proposal in. I warned the borough council that they were running counter to planning guidance.”

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Mr Ellesmere felt the decision was purely politically motivated to get work on the new homes delayed.

He said: “Calling in a planning decision is supposed to be used on decisions of major national importance. How on earth can they claim this is major national importance? It is a political device to get the work delayed until after the general election!”

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