Covid caused many construction projects to be put on hold last year. So, I am glad that we have been able, after a short pause, to continue our programme of building much-needed council housing across Ipswich.
The 60 homes at the former Tooks bakery on Old Norwich Road were well under way before Covid struck and we were able to complete them in time for the first families to move in before Christmas.
We have had some really positive comments from new tenants:
- “Think it’s lovely and couldn’t wish for better … the neighbours are very friendly”
- “The house is wonderful, and the area is peaceful … IBC has done very well to keep it nice and clean.”
- “The adapted bungalow is absolutely brilliant … I wasn’t able to shower before I was offered the bungalow and can now do so unaided.”
Given the circumstances of many of the families prior to moving in it is perhaps not surprising that they appreciate their new homes so much: 18 households were previously living in overcrowded accommodation. 10 required some form of adapted property such as ground floor level access or wheelchair adapted.
For many Ipswich residents, especially those with disabilities, the Council is the only organisation currently building new housing to meet their needs.
As welcome as these new houses are, they only go a small way to meeting the need in our town.
So, we are pressing ahead with further schemes. There are currently 40 new council houses under construction across the town: 16 on Grimwade Street, 8 on Sheldrake Drive, 6 each on Mallard Way and Emmanuel Close, 3 on Coltsfoot Road, and 1 in Halton Crescent. The majority of these are due to be completed before the end of the year.
The next big development will be on Ravenswood where we have gained planning permission for 96 new homes. In a first for the Council, we will be offering 10 of these new houses for sale as starter homes for key workers.
We are also working up plans for Bibb Way, Fore Hamlet, and Hawke Road which could see up to 200 new homes between them.