55.1 Questions had been received prior to the meeting and as always, if a question was received by the Tuesday at 10.00am, 2 days prior to the meeting then it would receive a full response from Officers.
Q1. How had the costs of the Homeless Unit in Sidegate Lane increased following the initial reported costs?
With regards to the funding of the additional £600,000, £450,000 would be funded from borrowing and £150,000 from the Business Rate Retention Pilot funding.
Q2. Why was the location and full details of the project kept secret from the public/local residents for so long?
As previously stated the Council followed the correct planning procedures and the large volume of representations from the public on this application suggests that the consultation had been effective in gathering residents’ views.
Q3. Have the homeless charities been consulted on the Council’s homeless strategy?
The Council’s Housing Strategy incorporated the Homelessness Strategy which had been fully consulted on prior to its adoption. One of the root causes of the rise in homelessness was the lack of truly affordable housing which was something the council was trying to address through its ambition to build 1000 council houses in 10 years. However, in the meantime there was a pressing need for the Council to provide temporary accommodation for homeless households and the site offered an excellent opportunity to do that.
Q4. Why was Ipswich allowing other councils to put their homeless in our B & B’s which in turn puts more pressure on the rooms available for the Ipswich homeless? Do the other councils pay Ipswich Borough Council for this?
The B&B’s are privately operated businesses and the Council has no control over who they choose to accommodate. The Council also has no control over other authorities placing their applicants in temporary accommodation in our area. The only duty other Councils had was to notify the Council when they placed someone in the IBC area. Councils placing their applicants in B&B’s obviously had to pay for the accommodation but they did not have to pay this Council anything.
Q5. Further information on planning applications
The financial viability of a scheme was increasingly cited by developers as a reason for reducing the amount of financial contributions that could be sustained, including a reduction in affordable housing. This was not an issue specific to Ipswich. Planning policy allowed for proposals to offer reduced obligations where schemes could be demonstrated to not be financially viable. All viability appraisals were subject to independent scrutiny, as appointed by the local authority and with the cost for any such appraisal being borne by the developer.
Information relating to planning applications is available online, via this link
Q6. Cornhill redevelopment – Does the Council feel the work has been completed to a good standard and the redevelopment is a success?
The project was near completion and the Council’s design team would be signing the project off in due course. The scheme had been well received and on consideration, to represent a significant enhancement of the town centre.
Q7. Cornhill development – Why did the Council decide it would be a good idea to approve the redevelopment which goes against a number of important things we are supposed to be doing as a society?
A) Increasing access for disable/less mobile people
B) Saving water
C) Saving power/reducing greenhouse emissions
D) Saving trees
E) Helping local businesses – the market
A) The scheme fully complied with all current building regulations standards and was designed in full consultation with the Ipswich Disability Advice Bureau.
B) A water system had been installed which recirculates and treated the water on site, which significantly reduced water usage.
C) The systems installed incorporated low energy LED systems.
D) The two original trees had been removed to improve views of the heritage assets, they had been replaced by four new trees across the site.
E) The market traders had expressed their interest in remaining in their new location. Market traders and local businesses had been fully consulted and involved with the project throughout. Overall the project has seen to be increasing footfall in to the area.
Q8. Could you please confirm what action has been taken/what has happened to improve facilities and support (long term and short term) for young people in the town since the stabbings in the summer?
Since the sad events during the summer, there had been a multi-agency approach to supporting the local community.
Over the summer IBC offered free iCards to every young person aged 5-16 years old and expanded the summer holiday activity programme so there were activities every day across the town, all free to access. Just over 13,000 young people took up these iCards.
IBC also opened and resourced the Nansen Road Community House, which had been running a number of activities for young people, including the ‘How to Help a Friend’ sessions, which were bite size first aid courses. There were also arts and crafts sessions, face painting for children, internet safety, the ‘Expect Respect’ course, a Youth Social Action session and Immobilise (which marked equipment to help prevent theft).
In the October half term, IBC ran the Jumpers 4 Goalposts sessions with Positive Futures across the town, offering free to access sports activities for boys and girls. There had also been support from IBC to help fund and continue the girl’s activity sessions and football sessions at Whitton Sports Centre, delivered by Positive Futures.
IBC were also working with Ipswich Academy to help develop and run an extra-curricular programme. There has also been more activities put on for juniors across the sports centres including the new football session at Gainsborough Sports Centre and the introduction of the Community Sports Leadership Award for young people aged 12 years and over.
55.2 The Chair thanked the Officers for their responses and the resident for submitting the questions. The resident asked why no written response had been received of her questions asked at a previous Committee and whether any postcode data was available for the free iCard’s supplied. Councillor Ross said that the take up of the free iCards had been overwhelmingly successful and it was hoped to offer it next year.
55.3 Discussion took place about the closure of The Foyer which had been run by SCC, the floor surface of the Cornhill redevelopment and the open day held by IBC about the proposed temporary housing unit at Sidegate Lane and the security measures. Car park charges were also discussed and the newly opened Crown Car Park was promoted as a well-lit, inexpensive, secure, central place to park in Ipswich.