First families to move into new council houses by Christmas
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The first of 41 new council homes at the former Tooks Bakery site will be ready for families to move into before Christmas, the council has revealed.
The new social housing development, off Old Norwich Road in Ipswich, should be fully occupied by the end of January.
The houses are being built by council-owned Handford Homes and include 41 to be handed over as council houses and 19 that will be owned by Handford Homes and offered for a market rent to people who can afford to pay more.
They have been built on the site of the former Tooks Bakery that has been vacant for many years – and represent a significant new housing investment by the borough.
MORE: Work started on the new development in 2019Council leader David Ellesmere said: “This is the biggest council development since Bader Close, and the largest on that side of Ipswich for many years.”
Colin Kreidewolf is a fellow Labour councillor and is chair of Handford Homes. He said: “We are really delighted to have got to this stage so people can start moving in. Some people will even be in their new home in time for Christmas. That is really good for them.
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“We badly need more good-quality affordable homes and these will go some way in meeting that need for families that need them.”
The council is hoping to organise a socially-distanced handover of the first new homes to their tenants before Christmas, but that does depend on what restrictions are imposed at the end of the current lockdown period.
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Mr Kreidewolf said: “We are approaching completion of this project but there are more schemes in the pipeline that will enable us to offer many more affordable homes over the next few years.” Most of the houses in the development are two or three-bedroomed homes, but there are a few larger ones because there is always some demand from larger families.
One of the problems faced by the council is that right-to-buy can mean tenants are able to buy their homes, reducing council housing stock and it is not always possible to invest sales receipts immediately into the purchase of new affordable homes.
But Mr Kreidewolf said with these homes and others being built or converted over the next few months, the amount of affordable homes in the borough would increase significantly over the next few years.