Ambitious housing strategy for Cambridge and Peterborough

The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority has agreed a ‘bold, innovative and ambitious’ housing strategy to help tackle the region’s housing needs.

Recognising the need to move beyond conventional methods of housing delivery, which for many years have not delivered enough affordable and other types of housing, the housing strategy will enable the combined authority to meet its ambition to deliver 100,000 additional homes and 40,000 affordable homes by 2037.

The strategy also addresses the affordability of housing, particularly for key workers, first time buyers and those in low and medium paid employment.

Using a variety of development tools and options, the authority is introducing schemes such as Community Land Trusts, discounted market homes priced at £100,000 at first sale and mechanisms such as Land Value Capture. In doing so, the authority aims to create a revolving fund that will outlast the £170 million programme and will help to meet the longer-term target of an additional 100,000 homes by 2037.

Mayor James Palmer said: “The combined authority has an aspiration to deliver an additional 100,000 homes and 40,000 affordable homes over the next 20 years. That simply won’t be possible without a fresh approach and a strategy that goes beyond simply handing out taxpayers’ money in grants for a finite amount of homes. We have to face facts that we might not be able to go back to the government, cap-in-hand, when the money runs out. We have to think differently.

“That’s why we need to make strategic investments in certain schemes that include an element of being able to clawback that investment to reinvest in further schemes, creating a revolving fund. An entrepreneurial approach is not about making a profit, it is about the ability to recapture any investment of taxpayers’ money to then plough back into delivering even more housing. Community land trusts, discounted market sale homes with prices capped at £100,000 and land value capture are all exciting ways through which we can achieve this. I’m a passionate advocate for home ownership, and it is simply not fair that so many hardworking people are locked out of owning their own property. There are huge swathes of working people earning too much to qualify for social housing, yet cannot hope to put a deposit down on a house and so are forced into astronomically expensive private rented homes. This strategy puts real focus on making home ownership more achievable.”