Last week I outlined how, through taking the necessary tough decisions early on, we are able to protect Ipswich Borough Council services over the next year, while still increasing council tax much less than Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner.
Our careful management of the Council’s finances means that, as well as maintaining existing services like free brown bins and the young persons’ Summer iCard, we can also keep investing in Ipswich.
After completing 60 new homes at the former Tooks bakery site, construction has now started on 40 new council houses on various sites around the town including 16 on Grimwade Street. Plans are also being progressed for 150 new homes on the site of the former BT facility on Bibb Way.
All new council houses will be built to good environmental standards, offer rents significantly cheaper than private landlords and be reserved for people with a local Ipswich connection.
We will continue our programme of improving the insulation of existing council houses and installing solar PV panels. This will save our tenants money as well as cutting carbon emissions.
We have won funding to pay towards eight modular housing units providing temporary accommodation for former rough sleepers and the support they need to help them move on to, and keep, a permanent tenancy.
We will continue our programme of replacing the Council’s old fleet of diesel vehicles with electric equivalents, start work on a new carbon neutral depot for the council and commence a programme of installing zero carbon heating systems in existing council buildings.
We will continue to invest in the heritage of Ipswich. Later this year we will submit final details of our major scheme to improve Ipswich Museum to the Heritage Lottery Fund. We will make money available to Ipswich Historic Churches Trust to help preserve Ipswich’s fine redundant medieval churches and works to improve Arras Square should get under way.
As businesses continue to reel from the effects of Covid, investments like these by the public sector will be vital to give the economy a boost. We will try to maximise the benefit to the Ipswich economy by using local contractors wherever possible.