The virus lockdown restrictions caused a huge amount of disruption to the activities of the Council.
Many of the visible services we provide have been shut down for months and only now can we start to think about how we awaken some of them from hibernation.
As ever though, there is still a huge amount of work being undertaken by Council staff behind the scenes, formerly in the Council’s offices but, now in their own homes.
Much of this work has, of course, been dedicated to dealing with the effects of the virus.
But there has also been some “business as usual” to ensure the Council, even in these difficult times, can continue to deliver on its key priorities for Ipswich.
One of these is the provision of new, quality, affordable housing.
After a short pause, construction work is now well underway again on the 60 new homes at the former Tooks bakery site on Old Norwich Road. The first tenants should be able to move in before Christmas.
Demolition of the former shops on Grimwade Street should begin in the next couple of months to allow 16 new homes to be built and work on a further 24 homes on a number of small sites around Ipswich should also start before the end of the year. These homes are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.
Work is also progressing well on designing a new housing scheme for the former BT offices on Bibb Way with around 140 new homes anticipated on the site.
The Council has also recently completed the buy-back of a long lease on the building currently occupied by Hope Church on Fore Hamlet and plans are being developed for around 30 new homes.
There are many people on the Council’s housing waiting list stuck in poor or unsuitable accommodation who we can’t help because there simply aren’t enough council houses available.
The work to deliver these 270 homes – plus others at an even earlier stage of development – that has carried on throughout the virus lockdown can give some hope that the safe, secure and affordable home we all aspire to will be theirs in the future.