I read with interest Paul Geater’s column in last Thursday’s Ipswich Star, “County needs a change of heart on major road projects” which calls for Suffolk County Council to drop its attempts to secure Government backing for a northern bypass. I disagree with this view.
This is clearly very good news and a step in the right direction. I pay tribute to the hard work that has been put in by a number of MP’s in Suffolk over a number of years to make this a reality. Particularly the former MP for Ipswich Ben Gummer who was instrumental in securing both the Ipswich in 60 service and the new trains that will be introducing over the coming months.
I write in response to your story in last Tuesday’s Star (“Row breaks out over slogan for Ipswich Tories’ housing policy”).
I find it extraordinary that local Conservatives have been accused of “dog whistle politics” by a former Lib Dem councillor because they are trying to ensure that local people are properly prioritised when it comes to access to council housing. What is so wrong about using the term, “Local homes for local people”.
I note the Labour leader of the council has responded by stating that council housing is not allocated based on the strength of local connection to the Borough but that it’s a major factor. Having looked into the matter I would argue that its not a major enough factor. As it stands anyone can join the local housing register even if they have no connection whatsoever with Ipswich.
If the level of need is exactly the same between someone with a local connection and someone with no local connection, then the person with a local connection will get priority. However, if the person with zero local connection has only slightly greater housing need then they will get priority over someone who may have lived in Ipswich their whole live. I don’t agree with this. We need local housing policies that put the people of Ipswich first.
I support the local Conservative proposal that states clearly that you need to live in Ipswich for at least six years before you’re eligible to join the local housing register and therefore access council housing. This is a sound policy that is practiced in other councils across the country, such as the London Borough of Havering.
When Ipswich Borough Council were asked what proportion of council homes went to people with no connection to the Town compared to those with a connection, they weren’t able to answer the question because they said “the data hasn’t been collected”.
Yes we do need far more affordable housing, both to rent and to buy, but lets make sure Ipswich people are put first.
Conservative PPC, Ipswich
I was glad to be able to get the responses to my transport survey in front of the Secretary of State for Transport yesterday. In total 83% of Ipswich residents who responded to my survey back a northern bypass. I was keen to make the arguments to the Transport Secretary yesterday.
I was also keen to stress the importance of there being a solution in the short term to prevent frequent closures of the Orwell Bridge. The Secretary of State said he’s instructed Highways England to carry out a study to look at what can be done and he said this should be completed over the next couple of months. I also called for a number of significant key investments to upgrade rail infrastructure across East Anglia. It will only be with these interventions that we can ensure that the new Ipswich in 60 service can become far more frequent and can operate at peak times. The cost of rail fares was also raised.
On Monday the Rail Minister visited Ipswich station and now I’ve been able to get the transport survey returns in front of the Secretary of State for Transport. I’m very glad the Government’s door is so open. I will keep on pushing to ensure that the views of Ipswich residents are heard loud and clear by Government.
Fascinating tour of ABP Port of Ipswich this afternoon with Paul Ager and Andy Constable. Easy to forget its huge importance with the Port of Felixstowe on its door step but it employs over 1,000 people and is the number one grain exporter in the country. Long discussion about the future of the island site and the huge potential it holds for Ipswich.
Good to get the hard hat on again this afternoon in Ipswich. At the Maltings on Princes Street with Mark Pertwee and Vanessa Penn. A pretty wild night club back in the day by the sounds of things but has been sitting empty for 10 years.
New first class office accommodation (approx 24,000 sq ft) should be ready this May. Up to 300 employees could be based there. The Maltings is one of the first buildings you see when you leave Ipswich train station so this is a big positive. Will open at around the same time as the first Winerack apartments become available. Things are really happening!
Very useful visit to Suffolk County Council’s Highways Service Delivery Centre yesterday to discuss potholes and road quality issues in Ipswich. I know that the quality of some of the roads isn’t up to the standard we’d like in parts of the Town and I was keen to see what the County Council are doing to help tackle this issue.
The good news was that in the last budget Suffolk got £9.67 million to help improve road quality, much of this money will be spent on potholes. So far the County have purchase a new Thermal Road Repair System. There is no noisy drilling associated with this system meaning that work can be carried out during the evenings meaning more can be done quickly. The Council have a “report a pothole” website: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roads-pavements-and-verges/potholes/report-a-pothole/ – Which seems to have increased the responsiveness of the Council when it comes to filling in potholes and other road quality issues. Currently I’m distributing my transport surveys and I’m sure there will be a great many potholes flagged up!
Good meeting with Jonathan Denby from Greater Anglia this afternoon at Ipswich train station. It’s looking likely over the summer they will be rolling out the new trains across the network.
During the selection process to become the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Ipswich I made clear my support for a northern relief road for Ipswich. I’m fully aware of how significant this issue is for Ipswich and the benefits that a new road could bring.