Ipswich: The best council house in Britain

IPSWICH: It has the kind of description estate agents would die for – historic three-bedroomed detached house with a small private back garden...and an 88-acre front garden with full team of maintenance staff!

But this home will not be offered for sale, it will be up for lease as one of the most desirable “council houses” in the land.

Soane Street Lodge at the entrance to Christchurch Park is one of four park lodges that is being restored and offered to the rental market by the borough.

Council leader David Ellesmere is keen to point out that they will be leased at a commercial rate – not offered as “social housing.”

Mr Ellesmere said: “We want to bring them back into use, and this seems like the best way.”

The homes will be let on assured short-hold leases. That ensures that the tenants will be suitable and could be evicted if there were any problems.

Mr Ellesmere said: “The tenants would have access to the parks, even when they are closed and obviously we would want to ensure that did not lead to any abuse.

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“But if we find the tenants suit the properties and are happy there, they could well live there for many years if they want to – it would be good to have long-term occupants,” he said.

Mr Ellesmere added: “The previous administration had considered selling them because they have been empty for some time.

“But we were concerned that if the ‘wrong’ person purchased one of them it could give us difficulties so we decided to lease them.

“It is important to get them back into use – I think the last time Soane Street lodge was occupied as a home for a park worker was about 2006. It was used as offices for the park rangers until two or three years ago, but it has been empty since then.”

n Would you like to live in a park? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk