Everything Ipswich residents need to know from the council – including bin collections and direct debits
PUBLISHED: 12:34 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:34 20 March 2020
A host of fresh measures have been outlined for people in Ipswich amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis – including updates on bin collections, iCards, council house tenants and direct debits.
Ipswich Borough Council issued a comprehensive update on Friday morning on what it was doing across all its service areas.
MORE: Follow our coronavirus topic page for the latest information
The headline measures were:
• Brown bin collections at all homes had been halted with immediate effect and until further notice
• No bookings for its rentable spaces would be taken for dates up to June 30
• The direct debit rate for people holding iCards had been automatically changed to £0 until further notice, so people did not need to cancel their direct debits. For those who have prepaid for a year, a 1/12th refund will be issued for each month that services are not available
• All borough council events planned before August 1 have been cancelled, including Ipswich Music Day, Holi Festival, Family Fun Days, Global Rhythms, Indian Mela and Open Air Theatre. Some may be rescheduled for later in the year.
• Public buildings will remain closed until April 30 – including the Regent, Town Hall and Corn Exchange, Shop Mobility, swimming pools and sports centres, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich Museum, Ipswich Art Gallery, visitor centres in Christchurch and Holywells parks and the Tourist Information Centre
• Existing bookings at a borough council facility due to be held between May 1 and June 30 could be rearranged at no additional cost
• Bookings for rooms at IP-City Centre and Grafton House by outside organisations have ceased until June 30
• The council’s car parks and crematoria will remain open
MORE: Suffolk school closure information
• Black bin collections and the HEARS service will continue to run as normal
• Customers for shows at the Regent or Corn Exchange will be updated directly if their show is postponed or cancelled and refund arrangements outlined
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• Elections for the borough council have already been cancelled with all meetings planned for March and April cancelled. The only exception is the executive meeting on March 24 which will take place with reduced membership
• Recommendations are set to be approved next week to allow the chief executive to take the necessary decisions normally undertaken by executive council during the coronavirus pandemic
• Measures for those struggling to pay council tax will be outlined next week
• No council house tenants will be evicted if they cannot pay due to lost income, but should get in touch with the council where they can be guided through the process
• Rent holiday of three months is likely to be approved next week for voluntary and community organisations in council owned buildings, such as Ipswich Film Theatre and the Town Hall coffee shop
• Businesses qualifying for business rate relief will be contacted by the council, but those eligible that haven’t been contacted by April 3 should get in touch with the council
• The council intends to pay all invoices from suppliers within seven days instead of the current 30 days
Each Friday the council said it plans to issue a summary of the situation for people in Ipswich, while frequent communications would take place for individual services and issues.
Queries via the council’s online service have already increased tenfold, according to the authority – with around 500 per day coming through.
Russell Williams, chief executive, said: “The decisions have not been easy to make – and will not be easy to deliver – but we will do so.
“These decisions have been made in response to national guidance issued by the government and Public Health England and should, I hope, bring some useful certainty to many residents, groups and businesses on a range of issues.
“I do anticipate the need to make more decisions that will affect what we do and how we do it in the coming days and weeks.”
The front desk at Grafton House is not open to the public, so people with queries should call 01473 432000 or use the online contact form here.
To keep up to date with all the latest information follow the Suffolk Coronavirus Facebook page here.