Monday 9 February 2015

Young families in Ipswich let down by Tories, Ben Gummer and Nadia Cenci

A number of Tory supporting commentators often mention that the last Tory/Lib Dem administration managed to build more homes than our current Labour run council. But the same commentators fail to mention that it is difficult to build homes when both the Ipswich Tories and Lib Dems are prepared to play the Nimby card and oppose any house building all in the hope of gaining a few cheap votes at the election in May.

Last week we found out that Eric Pickles has ‘called in’ our decision to build 94 new homes on Ravenswood (after being asked to by Ben Gummer). There is no doubt in my mind that this has been done just to try and gain a few votes from residents that were unhappy that council houses were to be built close to their current homes. Interesting that a further planning application from a private developer to build homes at Ravenswood that came to planning committee a few weeks later flew through planning with no objections from local residents and full support from the same Tory and Lib Dem councillors who were so vocal against the planning application from our own council.

Our Tory MP, Mr Gummer and the Tory leader – Nadia Cenci have badly let down the many young families in Ipswich who are in desperate need of new house in the town. Their behaviour has been disgraceful in my eyes and hypocritical as they seemed to have no issue with private homes on Ravenswood or an even bigger council house building scheme on the ‘other’ side of Nacton Road. Ipswich residents need to be informed that their Tory MP supported by Tory councillors are prepared to dash the hopes of a new home for many young families – just because those house would be council owned! Both Ben Gummer and Nadia Cenci should be ashamed that they were willing to campaign against a much needed development because they were not the sort of house that neighbouring residents wanted’ as one resident commented – having a council estate next to their home would see their house devalued! So the local Tories are willing to support short term greed over the hopes and dreams of many other residents?

I am not sure I have ever been so angry by the behaviour of our Tory MP and Tory councillors – Ipswich residents need to know why they have done this – cheap votes! The Lib Dems support of the Tory opposition also shows that in Ipswich they are just yellow Tories and have given up any real ‘liberal’ thoughts.

Here are some points about the planned Ravenswood development – all that seem to indicate how much this was just a decision based on supporting the few in order to gain their votes.

“Ravenswood UVW” is 94 homes out of a total development of 1,300 homes

When looking at the objections made to the development:

• There was no argument about the principle of building houses
• There was no argument about the number of houses
• There was no argument about the design of the houses
• There was no argument about the number of affordable houses
• The sole difference is whether 20 properties should be rented or shared ownership

The Council’s planning application was for:

• 24 shared ownership
• 68 affordable rent
• 2 social rent

A counter proposal put forward by objectors which Ben Gummer backed suggested:

• 44 shared ownership (+20)
• 48 affordable rent (-20)
• 2 social rent

£1.5m of Homes and Communities Agency funding for the scheme is at risk. HCA is an ”executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the DCLG – the same department calling in the application.
£300,000 in abortive work will have been wasted if we are forced to cancel the scheme.

Jobs in the construction industry will be at risk if the scheme does not go ahead.

The homes were specifically weighted towards smaller one and two bed roomed properties to help people hit by the Bedroom Tax who are unable to move.

Ben Gummer made no objection to the larger scheme at Bader Close of 108 council houses for rent. In fact he took Oliver Letwin there to try to claim credit for it. He has used this photo in recent election leaflets.


The behaviour of Mr Gummer in my opinion has been nothing short of disgraceful and I am sure when (and if ) he knocks on doors in Gainsborough, Chantry and on the Racecourse Estate he will not be mentioning that he has stopped the council building much needed council houses!


Alasdair Ross said...

Ipswich Tory Leader has tonight said she wants mixed development but is happy if not mixed - as long as 100% private - says it all really!

So not that bothered if it is not mixed as long as it is not all council

Ben Redsell said...

Alasdair are you really complaining that you can't build more affordable homes than the Tories because they run nimby campaigns? Tory/Lib Dem administration built more houses total - even at the height of the recession. 15% of lots turns out to be more than 35% of few. Labour control planning, you dominate the council. You have the capacity to rapidly increase the number of homes built in Ipswich - but you won't do it because people who own their own home are more likely to vote Tory than Labour and you have this obsession with shutting out anyone with any aspiration.

The Tory position is undefendable - because nobody is opposing the 100% private development alongside - but you can't argue that the Tories are the reason you haven't built as many affordable homes as they did!

Alasdair Ross said...

You are right on one point- their objections to Ravenswood is undefendable as was proven when Cllr Cenci said last night on twitter that she was happy with no mixture- if 100% private!

They have obstructed the whole Northern Fringe process - even though the initial plan was pushed through when they ran the council.
Only Tory Cllrs objected to houses on St Clement's site - even though the number of houses is lower than the total they planned when in power - one of their Cllrs wanted it turned into a park!

But their behavior- that is Ben Gummer, Tory councilors and Lib Dem councilors has been northing short of disgraceful when it comes to the application for houses on Ravenswood.

No surprise they do not seem keen to make it an election talking point with one of their potential candidates - stating that Ipswich Labour should not be making a political issue out of it as Ipswich Conservatives are not!