Row erupts over housing standard claim

MORE than 1,600 homes in Ipswich are today waiting to be brought up to standard despite a claim all the work has been done, The Evening Star has learned.

MORE than 1,600 homes in Ipswich are today waiting to be brought up to standard despite a claim all the work has been done, The Evening Star has learned.

The claim, made by council leader Liz Harsant during an interview with Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich Ben Gummer, appeared in a pamphlet distributed to homes in the town.

Mrs Harsant was quoted as saying that every council house in the town has been upgraded to the “Ipswich standard”, which dictates maintenance necessary to meet national minimum standard requirements.

However it has since been confirmed about 1,670 homes are still waiting to be upgraded with an estimated completion date of December 2010.

The Tories have been accused of “misleading” the public on the issue although it has been claimed the statement was merely a “typing error”.

Labour group leader David Ellesmere said: “Thousands of these leaflets have been delivered yet apparently not a single Conservative noticed this fundamental 'mistake' until we pointed it out.

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“The Tories should issue a public apology for misleading Ipswich residents.”

Council leader Liz Harsant described the situation as a genuine error and apologised for any confusion.

She said: “Instead of a sentence reading 'all council houses have been upgraded to the Ipswich standard' it should have said 'all council houses are being upgraded to the Ipswich standard'.

“I apologise for any minor confusion this may have caused and as I would not want to mislead anyone and if my statement could in any way be misconstrued, I will make sure that it is clarified in the next issue of Change.

“I have talked to Ben Gummer about this and he is happy to make sure that this happens.”

Ipswich Borough Council manages a total of around 8,400 council owned homes.

The Ipswich standard sets outs the council's priorities for maintenance and improvement of its housing stock over ten years with an £85.5million programme of maintenance and improvement works.

Is enough being done to improve the standard of Ipswich homes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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