£3M investment in council houses

Published on Monday, 09 March 2015 12:09
Written by Vicki Mitchem

Proposals to set aside £3,030,000 for 18 new council homes will be discussed by Cambridge City Council's Housing Scrutiny Committee tomorrow.

If six recommended sites are approved at the meeting, a programme of house-building will see 18 council homes being built on the small sites across the city, subject to planning approval. The majority of the homes will be two-bedroom houses, for which there is currently high demand, and will reach Level 4 of the Code For Sustainable Homes.

The sites at Cadwins Fields/Nuns Way, Cameron Road, Wiles Close, Tedder Way, Kendal Way and Uphall Road, are currently either garages or small 'infill' sites – land which is not currently being used.

This building programme will be paid for using a combination of reserves and borrowing from the Housing Revenue Account, together with around £1 million of the council's Right To Buy receipts. This means that the council can also set its own rents as part of the Cambridge Social Rent Programme.

Cllr Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: "Small sites like these can play a valuable role in delivering high quality, energy-efficient new social homes, and help tackle our waiting list.

"As we are not using government grant, we are also free to set rents at Local Housing Allowance levels as part of our Cambridge Social Rent programme and ensure that the rents will be truly affordable for our tenants."

The Cambridge Social Rent programme was introduced last year. It seeks to maximise the number of new council homes with rents set at Local Housing Allowance levels, which is around 60% of average market rents, compared with the government's Affordable Rent programme which sets rents at up to 80% of the market average.

Since 2010 the council has completed 28 new homes in the city, and 152 more are currently being built. Planning approval has recently been granted for a further 104 new council homes on the Quad site at Clay Farm, and 39 at a site near Homerton College.

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