The availability and affordability of a mix of housing is vital to economic growth.
Across the UK we are only meeting around 50% of the demand for housing year on year, which is leading to an ever-increasing gap between house prices and average salaries across the UK.
In Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire at least 1,700 new homes need to be built each and every year to meet our assessed needs. The Local Plans for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire form the framework for development and growth in the area – this includes setting out where these new homes can be built.
The Greater Cambridge Partnership will work to address this local shortfall, accelerating delivery of homes for all, by:
To ensure future growth and quality of life in Greater Cambridge, we need homes people can afford in sustainable communities – currently, there is a shortage of available, and affordable housing within a reasonable distance of where people work, which has led to a dramatic increase in house prices. This in turn affects employee recruitment and retention and increases commuting distances.
To address the nation’s housing needs, Local Planning Authorities are required by law to prepare a Local Plan that sets out the amount, type and location of new development – both homes and workplaces - that will take place over the next 15-20 years or so, whilst protecting the character of the area. The Greater Cambridge Partnership supports these plans.
Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire have worked together to draw up aligned Local Plans, with extensive stakeholder consultation. These propose 33,500 new homes and 44 000 new jobs by 2031, whilst ensuring that the Greater Cambridge area remains an attractive place to work, live, study, visit and play.
The majority of the new homes will be located; within and on the edge of Cambridge, at Cambourne, at a new village at Bourn Airfield, and at the new towns of Northstowe and north of Waterbeach village.
The Local Plans are supported by the Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire (TSCSC), adopted by Cambridgeshire County Council in 2014, following consultation, and produced in in parallel with the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans.
The TSCSC identifies the transport schemes necessary to support continued economic growth in the Greater Cambridge area, including through improved network connectivity and by supporting the sustainable development strategy included in the submitted Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans.
For more information on Local Plans, see:
The draft Local Plans are being examined by a Government inspector, as all Local Plans must be. Following initial feedback from the Inspector, the Councils have consulted on minor changes to the submitted plans which remain under examination in 2017.
In future, a joint Local Plan will be developed for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire and in line with the non-statutory spatial plan for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.
HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
The Greater Cambridge Partnership has invested in a new model for housing to bring forward new and affordable homes.
The Greater Cambridge Housing Development Agency (HDA) aims to deliver around 250 homes every year. 274 were completed in 2016-17, its first year of operation.
The HDA is a shared housing development service set up by Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council (the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) local authorities). Its vision is to provide a leading role in helping local authorities to drive – with pace and certainty – the delivery of affordable housing in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.
The HDA is an operational model through which the partner authorities’ collective resource of land, finance and staff skills can be applied to the optimal benefit of the wider Greater Cambridge area in respect of the delivery of new housing, particularly housing that is affordable.
The GCP Executive Board endorsed the creation of the HDA in June 2015 and the new agency was established in April 2016.
This partnership approach will complement private sector housing development by ensuring that new homes are still built during economic downturns and is expected to lead to opportunities for new housing that would not otherwise come forward. The HDA will play a significant part in delivering the 1000 additional homes on rural exception sites by 2031.
A NEW MODEL FOR HOUSING INVESTMENT
Local partners and employers already see lack of access to affordable housing as a real barrier to economic growth in the area – and are committed to taking steps to address this. Greater Cambridge partners are keen to explore a new model for housing investment, a joint venture company that could potentially draw in land holdings from Cambridgeshire County Council and the other Councils, and external investment, including possibly from the University of Cambridge, in order to deliver more affordable housing. The homes would be rented to people employed in the area. This model will be developed through the GCP.”
To deliver the ambitious plans for housing, the partner Local Authorities are streamlining planning processes to bring these more closely together across Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.
The partners have already created two Joint Development Control Committees (Northstowe and Cambridge Fringes) to take responsibility for planning decisions in key areas where responsibilities overlap.
Moving forward, the partners have agreed in due course to create a single integrated spatial plan and transport strategy, bringing together the separate Local Plans for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire with the Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.
The partners have also agreed a Planning Charter (PDF). This sets out best practice working between the Councils, and between Councils and developers, on planning applications.