UVW update - January 2018

Background to Site UVW
The UVW Plot between the School and Fenbight Circle, off of Downham Boulevard, was due to have had 94 Council Homes built upon it some 3 years ago.  However, a considerable number of Ravenswood residents, formally represented by the Ravenswood Residents Association (the RRA) pointed out to Ipswich Borough Council that its proposal went against the Government's NPPF – (National Policy Guidelines) which recommended not building more than 15 new Council homes in close proximity to each other, without building new Freehold homes for sale, thus continuing with the mixed-tenure development which has always been the planning policy at Ravenswood. The total current mixture of dwellings at Ravenswood amounts to approximately 65% private housing, with the remaining 35% consisting of housing comprised of disability bungalows, housing association’s dwellings and some Council housing. The housing plan shows that this latter 35% is dotted around and mixed up in a pepper-pot way throughout the development in amongst the private housing so that no one type of property stands out from any other. Purchasers and investors electing to ‘buy-in’ to Ravenswood were therefore buying in to the Policy for this harmonious way of living, which was after all, a Policy that was produced and approved by Ipswich Borough Council the best part of 18 years ago when Bellway Homes started to build the first homes here.

With regard to site UVW the RRA, backed by the residents, decided to try to negotiate a better plan with IBC, but when our pleas fell on stony ground we sought the help of solicitors and subsequently, and perhaps more importantly, politicians who could interpret and relate to the NPPF guidelines. After submitting our viewpoints, IBC and the RRA met at a Government Call-in to put our cases before an Inspector and following a period of deliberation the Secretary of State ruled that the case put forward by the RRA and the Residents had been the correct path to follow.

Current Situation  
The current situation is extremely encouraging in that IBC's Housing Strategy 2017 -2022 confirms that the tenure split identified for new housing schemes should be made up with:

65.8% Market/Private housing
19.4% Affordable Rented housing
14.8% Affordable Home Ownership (5% Shared Ownership and 9.8% Starter Homes).

Council Leader David Ellesmere was quoted in the Ipswich Star in November 2017 as saying that... "as a result of a Government decision on the proposed new homes at Ravenswood, we are not able to build more than 15 new council houses without also building new homes for sale or for market rent." This had been part of the RRA's case against IBC when they told us that IBC could not build and sell houses. Detective work by the RRA with help from Councillors supporting our case, identified at least 3 other councils in East Anglia who were doing just that, and to keep the books separate for administering the houses for sale, they confirmed that they had all set up separate companies for just this task.

Now some year or so later, David Ellesmere confirmed to the Ipswich Star that IBC " has set-up a new Council-owned company, Handford Homes Ltd." to handle the aforementioned administration surrounding the sale of Market/Private Housing.

In summary and after the best part of 3 years of campaigning ‘we’ are, where we all could have been at the beginning of this saga, if only the existing and proven Planning Policy conditions had been applied to site UVW.  The residents supporting the RRA are pleased that sense has prevailed and have been glad to interact with IBC and agree upon a mutually acceptable outcome for all.  For the benefit of all residents residing at Ravenswood it was our commitment to you all that the Planning Policy would remain the same throughout the development, which in our view, has contributed to the popularity of Ravenswood as a pleasant place to live for nearly 20 years.