News

UVW update - June 2016

A good day for everyone, a victory for common sense has prevailed !

In case you have not heard - the Secretary of State (SofS) has ruled on the open issue of the UVW site at Ravenswood, and effectively the SofS has ruled against IBC's planning decision, and this vindicates the RRA's view that the UVW development should have followed the Mixed Tenure design found elsewhere on Ravenswood.

The SofS ruled that building 94 affordable/council units would have conflicted with Government policy, which aims to achieve housing developments in which affordable units are truly integrated with market housing. It would also have conflicted with the aim to create inclusive and mixed communities.

It is to be hoped that IBC will now come up with a new workable plan that follows the Government's National Planning Policy Framework guidelines for Mixed Tenure developments, although it is noted that IBC have a 6 week period when they could lodge an appeal to the High Court against the SofS's decision. Hopefully IBC will think carefully and not go down that route, which could only result in spending more rate payers money on top of the cost of the Call-In and the barrister who attended that meeting, and probably return us to the position that we are in today.

If the opportunity should arise Ravenswood Residents Association would be happy to engage in discussions with IBC representatives, in the hope that it would help to lead to a satisfactory mixed tenure solution for the UVW site.

If you would like to comment on this or any other affecting Ravenswood, please contact us either directly by email or via our Facebook page.

UVW update - April 2016

We are now well past the 18 Jan 2016 date when the the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - Greg Clark -  was expected to deliver a response to the Call-in to the Planning Decision by Ipswich Borough Council's original plan to build 94 council houses on the plot of land between the primary school and Fenbight circle in Ravenswood. Even though IBC watered down slightly their plan to include 24 shared-ownership properties, the RRA felt that this did not meet the ethos behind the Mixed Tenure design of the Ravenswood Estate. IBC had also breached both National Guidelines, and their own guidelines by putting forward this proposal.

Whilst the RRA waits patiently for a result we understand that IBC have been chasing the Sec. of State's office but have been told that a decision is unlikely before June/July. The delay is presumed to be caused by both the EU Referendum and the Local Election campaigns. 

In the opinion of the RRA, if we could have reached an early compromise with IBC and they had adhered to the 'Mixed Tenure Mandate' as used for the rest of Ravenswod, we feel the construction of the development could have been well underway by now instead of waiting for a decision from the Secretary of State.

Report on the Call-in of UVW Site - Sept 2015

update
We are due to hear the Secretary of State’s decision on or before 11th January 2016.

 

The Call-in for the UVW site was scheduled to last for a possible 3 days from the 9th Sept, but in the event lasted only the 1 day.

Inspector Melissa Hall Chaired the proceedings, and her duty is to report back her findings to the Secretary of State for Communities of Local Government - The Right Hon, Greg Clark MP (who replaced Eric Pickles) who called-in the planning decision on the UVW Site.

The Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) side, otherwise known as the Applicant - had instructed Simon Bird QC to lead their case. After giving the opening statement on behalf of the applicant, Mr Bird then called for evidence from representatives of IBC House Building, the Architects, and also from IBC Tenancy Services. This was followed by the Planning Department giving the justification for their case to build the following properties as put forward at the planning meeting on 26 Nov 2014:

68 Affordable Rent (34 x 1 bed flats and 34 x 2 bed houses)

24 Shared-Ownership (12 x 1 bed houses and 12 x 2 bed houses)

2 Social Rent (4 bed houses)

NOTE

At the time of the planning meeting, and having been told twice by IBC that they could not build and sell to private buyers for profit we proposed the following compromise:

48 Affordable Rent 

44 Shared-Ownership 

2 Social Rent 

Having found out from other East Anglian councils that IBC could indeed build and sell to private buyers for profit (though they chose not to) in our presentation we later proposed a first choice "preferred proposal" of:

41 Affordable Rent 

24 Shared-Ownership

27 Private 

2 Social Rent 

 - this to stay in accordance with the spirit of the Ravenswood development since its inception.

For IBC  to set up an "arms length" company to sell the private element part,  IBC claimed that it would take 18 months to set up, so we proposed an alternative of: 

41 Affordable Rent 

51 Shared-Ownership 

2 Social Rent 

As stated the above alternatives were presented in our statement of case

The presentations from the IBC side were followed by questions led by the QC with each of those called, in a bid to build up the justification of their position, which had of course not changed since the planning meeting last November (2014). Richard Venning and Bryan Patterson (on behalf of the Residents Association) were given the chance to clarify points and pose questions also after each presentation, in a bid to support our position.

Richard then was called to present our Statement of Case - seeking to preserve the Mixed Tenure ethic of the Ravenswood Development since its inception. The presentation was followed by some predictable intense cross examination by the QC, at which we maintained our ground. It was also explained by using a map how large the UVW site is - particularly when you add on the social rent houses around and adjacent to Fen Bight Circle. If you add those 21 properties - the "cluster" of houses becomes 115 (94 +21) -  the largest on the whole of Ravenswood.

Councillor Liz Harsant then spoke convincingly for the Residents supporting our case.

SUMMARY

The IBC focus was on meeting the housing need. We accepted this but did not accept that the objectives derived from adhering to agreed policies should be lost in the process.

After some clarifications about the site, the meeting was called to a close. This was followed by a site visit to Ravenswood so that the Inspector could guage visually the extent of the development.

The Inspectors report will be delivered to the Secretary of State in about 3 weeks time, but it is not known how quickly the Secretary of State will take to make his decision - it is entirely dependent on how much work pressure there is on his department.

Pages

Subscribe to News