ICA threat eases

PART of the threat to Ipswich Caribbean Association has been eased after proposals to earmark its home for housing were dropped.

PART of the threat to Ipswich Caribbean Association has been eased after proposals to earmark its home for housing were dropped.

But Association leaders are still trying to get more money out of the borough council.

The borough's executive has bowed to political pressure and accepted that two controversial housing schemes should be dropped.

Both the ICA's premises in Woodbridge Road and allotments in London Road will be saved from the bulldozer in a deal with the Labour opposition to ensure the borough's development framework is approved next week by the council.

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With six Tories and one Liberal Democrat expected to vote against the plan because they oppose development of the northern fringe with up to 5,400 homes, there was a danger that the whole document would be defeated because Labour councillors were threatening to withhold support unless the ICA and the allotments were saved.

Leaders of the ruling Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition have agreed to the changes in a behind closed doors deal between all three parties. The deal means that Labour will either abstain or vote for the development framework, ensuring that the blueprint for the next 20 years will be approved by the council.

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Other changes from the original document which have been agreed are an increase in the number of affordable homes that should be built in Ipswich, a reduction in the number of homes on the St Clement's Hospital grounds from 512 to 350, and abandoning plans to develop the all weather sports facility in Halifax Road for housing.

It has also been decided are that in housing schemes of 15 or more, 40per cent must be affordable and at least 80pc of all affordable homes should consist of social rented housing.

In a statement, Labour leader David Ellesmere said his group had “saved important community facilities” from being redeveloped.

“More than 700 extra affordable homes for rent will be built and more of them will be houses rather than flats.”

Albert Grant, treasurer of the ICA, welcomed the change of heart, and the support received from community groups and the public in the borough.

“This means that pressure on us to find a new building has been lifted, although we still have funding issues to resolve with the council,” said Mr Grant.

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