Post War prefab housing – the homes of tomorrow?

Over a year ago I spoke in support of Councillor Judy Terry’s comments about the post war prefabricated housing on Inverness Road in Ipswich and I was royally flamed for having an opinion on an Ipswich issue. So here goes again, last week I learnt will dismay that Cllr. John Mowles the Labour housing Portfolio Holder on the Borough Council, the same one who this year is pushing up the Ipswich’s council house rents by £200 for those who are working hard and paying rent, is proposing that Ipswich Borough Council spend money revamping the 127 prefabs homes on the estate and yet can’t or won’t even indicate how much extended life span the money will provide.

When I previously spoke it was twisted that I was against the residents and shame on me but nothing was further from the truth, essentially from what I hear the residents love their bungalows and gardens and the low density of the area, who would not, but it’s the quality of the fabric of the buildings and the ability to heat them that is the real concern.

Not to put too fine a position on it, structural re-furbishing of sub-standard prefab housing is an utter nonsense, putting new roofs, services and insulation into a crumbling superstructure that in engineering terms has now failed as they were designed to last 20 years, 60 years ago and to do anything other than replace them is ridiculously short sighted. It’s also proposed that the Borough will install new kitchens, bathrooms and windows but even that is strange as any social housing provider will tell you, such important things should be a part of an on-going stock maintenance programmes not an executive decision.

What qualifies me to speak about housing is simply that I happen to know a thing or two about prefab bungalows. Firstly because I am a third generation builder and at a technical level know about housing construction and mainly bungalows to boot having built quite a few of them. And secondly because in my youth I worked with my grandfather and he was involved in a property company that owned a number of prefabs within its stock and one of my jobs was in part to understand the maintenance, repairs and improvements, which were costly and a nightmare as structural components failed time and time again, and that was 30 years ago!

In terms of what could be built and it’s density, fortunately the centralised density dictates of the old PPG 3 that were a feature of the last Labour government are a thing of the past and providers can build at what density they like and here residents like the lower density and gardens which can easily be recreated with new modern bungalows and perhaps even an extra care scheme for those who still want to live in the area but for whom their large gardens are now a struggle.

Why can’t IBC start a programme of partial improvement, focus on replacing the dwellings allowing people who love their location, density and gardens the opportunity to have a new modern bungalow where they live, and finding a provider of extra care to invest in the area. Refurbishing prefabs is simply not good enough and the residents of Inverness Road surely deserve a Council with more forth-sight than this, maybe the massive rent rises for those who work and pay rent to the council might pay for a bit more vision?

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

One Response to Post War prefab housing – the homes of tomorrow?

  1. Kevin Algar says:

    Reblogged this on A Riverside View and commented:
    Ipswich Labour would rather demolish all the privately owned houses and turn Ipswich into something akin to Chauchescu’s Bucharest. Hence they are spending money to spend on new council houses for other Ipswich people rather than providing decent housing for their existing tenants while shoving their rent up to pay for it. They are building an empire off the backs of the poor. I hope Judy hits them hard at tomorrows full council meeting.

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