Poll: Housing waiting lists are reduced in Ipswich

Huge efforts are being made to keep housing waiting lists down in Ipswich, figures have revealed.

Only three of the 8,166, social housing properties managed by Ipswich Borough Council are currently empty – and all are being prepared for a new incoming tenant.

But while the properties are being filled, the scale of the demand for housing can also be revealed, with 3,390 applicants on the register.

The waiting list has fallen in the past few years – from 6,040 applicants in 2010 and 4,704 in 2011. The properties are owned or managed by various housing associations including Orwell, Flagship and Suffolk Housing Society.

A spokesman for Wherry Housing Association, which is responsible for some of the housing association properties in Ipswich, said: “Since April, seven have been vacated and re-let. It is really important to us to make sure that we turn around our homes as quickly as possible, and on average it takes us just seven days to re-let a property.”

Speaking about the Ipswich Borough Council statistics, which were released under a Freedom of Information request, Councillor John Mowles, portfolio holder for housing, said: “We work hard to ensure our properties are kept occupied and these figures show we are successful in doing just that.

“It is vital that homes do not remain empty. We are also aiming to provide even more houses to those people in Ipswich who are not in a position to buy their own homes. Our planned building programme will see around 120 council houses constructed on three sites in the town – the first time council houses have been built on this scale for half a century.”