Portfolio Holder – Councillor Neil MacDonald
Executive are requested to agree and note the proposed options, tenure, method of delivery, programme and allocation of financial resources in order to enable the redevelopment of a council owned site (supporting a parade of shops with accommodation over) at Grimwade Street, Ipswich.
7.1 Councillor MacDonald explained that it was proposed to demolish the existing mixed block of flats and shops at Grimwade Street and replace these with a four storey block of around 16 flats. Councillor MacDonald noted the Council had a significant waiting list for Council housing and that this scheme would help to reduce this pressure slightly. Councillor MacDonald commented that he hoped that the work would promote regeneration on neighbouring sites, noting that the Council had written to their owners on a number of occasions seeking to develop the wider area but that these letters had not been responded to.
7.2 Councillor MacDonald noted that the costs included a large contingency for inflation in the construction industry and that whilst the cost per unit was high, this reflected to cost of redeveloping brownfield sites.
7.3 In accordance with Standing Orders Part 3 Section 3 Paragraph 3.5, the following question was asked:
Question 1 – Councillor I Lockington
‘Would the Portfolio Holder consider following the example of Exeter Council in building social housing to Passivhaus standards which would contribute to reducing this Council’s carbon footprint with no or little increase in building costs.’
7.4 Councillor MacDonald explained that the Council had considered the potential for achieving a Passivhaus standard at this, and other developments. Councillor MacDonald explained that to achieve this standard the initial capital cost of construction would be approximately 20% higher, which would significantly affect the Council’s ability to deliver the level of housing required within the borough. In addition the long term servicing and access costs (6 monthly intervals), the heat exchanger lifetime replacement costs (15 years) and resultant reduced room sizes associated with Passivhaus designs needed to be considered. Councillor MacDonald commented that Ipswich Borough Council’s new homes were built to Code 4 standard, which was directly comparable in terms of heat loss restriction to the Passivhaus requirements and therefore returned many similar benefits to occupiers.
7.5 Councillor Ellesmere noted that Exeter City Council, which applied Passivhaus Standards to its new properties had only built 41 new homes, which was far fewer than Ipswich Borough Council had been able to build. Councillor Ellesmere noted that Ipswich Borough Council homes were built to a high standard and were very well insulated compared to most other houses in the town.
7.6 Councillor Rudkin asked why further investigation of unexploded ordnance needed to be carried out. The Operations Manager - Major Capital Schemes, Mark Hunter, explained that desktop studies suggested that there was a heightened risk in the area and so these investigations needed to be carried out to minimise this.
7.7 Councillor Jones commented that she hoped the development of this building encouraged further regeneration in the area. Councillor Jones also noted that the Council far exceeded the minimum national standards as the previous Government had scrapped planned improvements to these standards.
7.8 Councillor Fisher commented that this scheme was long overdue. Councillor Fisher asked whether a further report would need to be brought to Executive once the final number of flats and designs were available.
7.9 The Operations Manager – Major Capital Schemes explained that no further report would be needed as the recommendations allowed officers to take all necessary steps to deliver the new building, with flexibility around the final design and number of flats built into the report. As stated in the recommendations the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health would be consulted on these aspects.
7.10 Councillor Fisher asked whether there were any costs relating to vacant possession being gained of the site.
7.11 Councillor Ellesmere confirmed that small costs had been incurred which related to the termination of a lease and the relocation costs of an organisation.
It was RESOLVED:
a) thatthe scheme be approved as 100% social rented tenure;
Reason: To achieve the Councils objective to build 1,000 homes in ten years
b) thatthe Head of Development, in consultation with the Head of Housing and Community Services and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health, be authorised to take all necessary steps to deliver Option 2 as set out in the report;
Reason: To contribute to the Council’s goal of building 1,000 homes in ten years
c) thatthe estimated cost of £3,000,000 for this scheme be noted and that this would be met from existing budgets within the Increased Housing Provision in the HRA;
Reason: To allow the capital programme to be delivered.
d) that the Head of Housing and Community Services, in consultation with the Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health, be authorised to amend the tenure type if Homes England funding was awarded for this scheme and a different tenure was a condition of that funding.
Reason: To take advantage of available external funding.