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Ipswich set to build 16 council flats on site of Grimwade Street shops

PUBLISHED: 19:00 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 21:49 04 June 2019

The shops and flats in Grimwade Street that are likely to be demolished and replaced by modern flats. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The shops and flats in Grimwade Street that are likely to be demolished and replaced by modern flats. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

A block of shops and flats in Ipswich is likely to be demolished and replaced by 16 new council flats.

The existing block in Grimwade Street is owned by Ipswich Borough Council but only one of the units, a fish and chip shop, is still occupied. That is due to close later this month.

The borough has long wanted to use the site for new housing - and next week's executive meeting is to decide what will happen there once it is all empty.

There are two proposals - one to convert the existing building into nine flats, or to knock it down and replace it with a new purpose-built block of 16 flats.

Officers are presenting arguments both ways to the meeting - but the recommendation is that the current building should be replaced by the new block.

Their report says that to rebuild the existing building would cost £1.8million - meaning each flat would cost £200,000 - but demolishing it and starting again would cost just over £3m, £187,000 a flat.

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All the flats would be council homes offered to tenants for a social rent - and the cost of carrying out of the work would come from existing budgets supported by the Housing Revenue Account.

Council portfolio holder for housing Neil MacDonald said he hoped work would be able to start soon if the executive gave the go-ahead for the redevelopment.

He said: "The officers hope that we would be able to clear the site by the end of the year and start building the new flats in January.

"In my experience building always seems to take a bit longer than we hope at first, but it would be good to think that the new tenants will be in their homes by Christmas 2020."

He said the flats' "location near the waterfront and the town centre - and the fact that they are within walking distance of the railway station should make them very popular".

He added: "And above all it will mean that 16 people from the housing waiting list will have a brand new home."

Mr MacDonald also hoped that the construction of the new council flats would also encourage the redevelopment of the former Peter's Ice Cream site next to it, which has been empty for several years and has been blighted by anti-social behaviour at times.

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