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Thousands without central heating

PUBLISHED: 01:26 10 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:10 03 March 2010

THOUSANDS of council homes in Ipswich still have no central heating, the Evening Star can reveal today.

And at the current rate of work, it will take another six years before all the council's 9,000 homes are warm.

THOUSANDS of council homes in Ipswich still have no central heating, the Evening Star can reveal today.

And at the current rate of work, it will take another six years before all the council's 9,000 homes are warm.

The issue was put into stark focus last week when it emerged that the house in which seven-year-old Anton Fox died had no central heating.

Anton died in a fire in the bedroom of his Marlow Road home. The blaze is thought to have been started by an electric fire left on to warm his bedroom on a bitterly cold night.

The house, a prefab dating from the immediate post-war years, was modernised in the late 1980s, but central heating was not fitted.

Some of the neighbours in Marlow Road do have central heating – and said that it made their homes "very warm and cosy."

Richard Dowling, from Ipswich Borough Homes, said about 3,000 council homes in the town still had no central heating.

When houses were modernised, the then tenants were given the option of having central heating fitted.

Many chose not to have it installed because that would have led to an increase in their rent.

The council is currently spending £1 a year on installing central heating in its remaining properties – but can only do 500 homes a year.

"Not everyone wants central heating, but if they do they should apply straight away and we will allocate the work on a priority basis," said Mr Dowling.

"We simply don't have the resources to go into every estate and install central heating in every home there – but there is an ongoing programme.

"A family with young children would be near the top of the priority list," he added.

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