Concerns Ipswich house building may be stalling as just 121 completed in last year
Fresh concerns have been raised over house building in Ipswich as new figures show just 121 homes were completed in the last year.
Ipswich Borough Council had set a target of 677 homes to be completed in the 2017/18 financial year, but just 121 were finished, according to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee data.
It represents just under 18% of its target – fewer than one in five, and was a total of both private developments and borough council housing.
The council had set a target for 90 affordable homes to be delivered from private developments, but in reality only 13 came to fruition.
Planning bosses at the borough council put the shortfall down to delays in work starting at big sites such as the former Tooks Bakery factory.
Portfolio holder Carole Jones said: “Given the viability issues raised by private developers the most reliable way to deliver quality affordable homes for rent is to build them ourselves.
“This is one of our top priorities – we shall start work soon on 17 affordable family homes in Cauldwell Hall Road and have secured planning permission for a larger development for 60 family houses and flats at the former Tooks Bakery site, where 41 will be affordable.
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“This is in addition to a number of small sites that we plan to develop in the coming years.”
Last week, planning permission was approved for 113 homes off Discovery Avenue, while work is also hoped to start on 100 homes at Ravenswood this year.
In January the borough council reported that the 2,000-home Garden Suburb scheme could begin later this year.
But Ian Fisher, Conservative group leader said the borough council had an “awful rapport with property developers”.
He said: “We have a finite amount of space but the fact some [developments] take so long to get off the ground is down in part to the bad rapport.”
He added that the process needed to make sure developers want to build in town by building up relationships with them.
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said that more was needed to enable councils to build homes, and added: “Nobody is preventing the private sector from building the houses and flats that we need in Ipswich, but they are just not doing so.”