Ipswich Tories back new affordable housing – but unsure on council homes
PUBLISHED: 22:43 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 22:43 29 September 2017
Members of the opposition Conservative group have said they would welcome the construction of more affordable homes in the town, but do not feel they should necessarily be council homes.
The group clarified its position after saying that the Labour administration at the borough had misrepresented its position during a debate about the new Ipswich local plan last month.
In that debate the rising deprivation in the town was linked to the number of council homes that had been built in Ipswich – but Tory group leader Ian Fisher said Labour had distorted his party’s position.
He said: “Our Group opinion is that the past housing strategy and decisions made by IBC have contributed to this deprivation.
“I fully understand we are not a devolved authority and it is likely that I will be told that some of the responsibility lies with the Conservative controlled county council.
“We have no control over the County Council and none of us are responsible for their decisions, we can only control our own decisions and we are here to discuss them, not blame it all on another authority.”
He then said: “There is no doubt that there is a need for affordable housing in the town and we are all in agreement that we must do all we can to help in providing this. But the Labour Group’s insistence on trying to be the largest owner of social housing amongst local authorities is driving Ipswich down and needs to be addressed.”
Mr Fisher said more affordable homes in Ipswich should be built by housing associations and he also said there was also a need for a wider range of homes in the town.
“We want a much greater weight put on the range of housing and we believe social housing is important.
“However we feel that the Labour group have a blase attitude towards other tenures of housing. Since Labour came to power in Ipswich the total housing stock in the town has only increased by 3%.
“If we are going to attract large businesses to Ipswich we need good quality family homes for their employees to live in. If these came to the town rather than Kesgrave, or Martlesham we would increase the total council tax receipts for Ipswich. To do this we need to ensure houses in council tax bands other than A or B are built in Ipswich.”