Borough set to launch compulsory purchase bid

Wendy Evans-Hendrick (Orwell Housing), Councillor David Ellesmere (Council Leader), Joe Howarth (IBC

Wendy Evans-Hendrick (Orwell Housing), Councillor David Ellesmere (Council Leader), Joe Howarth (IBC), Councillor John Mowles (Housing portfolio-holder) and Neil Macnab (Chaplin Farrant architects) - Credit: Archant

A new bid to crack down on owners of empty homes is set to be made by the borough today.

Ipswich council’s executive committee is set to approve compulsory purchase orders for two homes in the town that have been empty for years.

And at the same meeting, a major new step towards building new council homes across the town is set to be given formal approval.

The borough is seeking compulsory purchase orders for two properties that have been empty for a long time – their owners have failed to either sell them or make them available for rent.

Council leader David Ellesmere said this was the third round of applying for compulsory purchase orders since the borough introduced the policy after Labour won power in 2011.

He said: “Effectively these are the fifth and sixth homes that we have attempted to get compulsory purchase orders on.

“Sometimes just the application for an order is enough to give the owner the kick up the backside that he or she needs to put the property on the market or look for a tenant.”

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The council has a fund to finance the orders. If it goes through with the compulsory purchase it will then carry out any repairs needed before putting the house on the market.

The money raised will be ploughed back into the fund, allowing more compulsory purchases to be completed.

Mr Ellesmere said: “It is not practical to add individual homes to our council stock – but this should be self-financing.”

At the same meeting the borough is set to appoint key staff for the £11.3 million project to build 120 new council homes at Bader Close.

That will be the largest new council housing project in the town for a generation and the borough is working with the Orwell Housing Association.

Work should start on the site later this year – and the homes should be a boost for the borough which has been juggling with a shortage of affordable rental homes for several years.