In 2014, Ipswich Borough Council, submitted a proposal consisting of 94 council homes on the site along Downham Boulevard and Fen Bright Circle in Ravenswood. At the time, Mr Ellesmere said the latest application showed councillors were “really delivering” on their election promise in building more council houses.
Little progression was made, and in June of 2016 the scheme was called in for review by the government. Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government at time refused the application as it did not include a mix of affordable and private houses. This was met with mixed response.
The Ravenswood Residents’ Association (RRA) voiced there support, arguing that the proposal should have followed the mixed tenure design found elsewhere on Ravenswood. Support was also in favour for the decision as the ‘Thrasher pub’ roundabout is becoming evermore congested.
Mr Ellesmere was shocked by the decision, saying
“This is astonishing. I cannot think of an application turned down because the housing wasn’t expensive enough.
“The length of time it has taken to take this decision is likely to cost the council millions of pounds in lost rent, grants and increased construction costs, while families have been left languishing on the waiting list.”
In 2017, the proposal has once again arisen, with the council hoping for construction to begin in early 2018. However, after the governments 2014 decision, the development is currently limited to 15 council homes. Mr Ellesmere said
“That is frustrating but we have set up a new council-owned company, Handford Homes, to do that in Ipswich.” In the hope, this will allow the development to go ahead.
The contemporary design is unlikely to change from the 2014 specification. The scheme, just like 2014, has raised concerns over traffic impact and questions of whether Nacton Road can cope with more traffic. At present, this will not be the last development on Ravenswood, due to space adjacent to the food outlets at the entrance to the housing development.
Images: CH Architects