Board members have today voted unanimously to back a Combined Authority bid to Government for millions pounds of funding to deliver thousands of homes and new jobs in Cambridgeshire.
A £200m application to the DCLGs Housing Infrastructure Fund has been given the green light, which, if granted, will unlock the development of a brownfield site which has previously struggled to get investment.
The 48 hectare site, part of which currently houses the Anglian Water Wastewater Recycling facility and is close to the new Cambridge North rail station, was identified by CPCA advisors CBRE as the best scheme to put forward as a submission to the Fund. It is adjacent to the Cambridge Business Park and straddles both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire.
Once submitted, bids are due to be assessed by DCLG and the Housing Communities Agency (HCA) by November 2017 and if selected to move on to the next stage, businesses cases are to be submitted by Spring 2018 with a decision announced Summer 2018. Money must then be committed by March 2021.
If the bid for funding is successful, plans could see up to 7,600 new homes, which have been stalled for years because of the cost of relocating the Anglian Water Wastewater Recycling Facility.
Plans for the site include a high percentage of affordable homes which will be served by the newly-opened Cambridge North railway station. The development of the site could also result in over 30,000 jobs in construction and associated services.
Councillor Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council and portfolio holder for housing on the CPCA, said: “I am very pleased that the Combined Authority has voted to back this bid. Anyone who has used the new Cambridge North Railway Station, or works nearby, can see what a good place this is to develop. The area is brownfield land that is on the doorstep of a rail link. There is still some way to go before we know whether the Government supports our bid, but I am very hopeful as it meets a real and compelling need.”
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “It is really good news that the Combined Authority has agreed to back the bid for government funding to unlock the potential for development at Cambridge Northern Fringe East. We are at an early stage in the process but this bid is real opportunity for the councils and the mayor to persuade government to back a scheme that would deliver thousands of desperately needed new homes. This is a once in a generation opportunity to win the funding needed to free up this site and we will be putting all our efforts into securing it.”
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer added: "I'm delighted that the Board have given their backing to the Cambridge Northern Fringe scheme.
"If successful through the bidding process the funding will play a crucial role in bringing forward over 7,000 new homes and creating over 30,000 jobs. We're confident that it's a very strong bid having the benefit of being on a brownfield site with excellent public transport links due to its proximity to Cambridge North station, we're also confident that it will be deliverable within the time frame set by government."
Alongside the Cambridge Northern Fringe East site, two additional strong candidate schemes which could make a significant contribution to unlocking new homes and social and economic growth in the Combined Authority area were also identified. These were Huntingdon Third River Crossing and Wisbech Garden Town. The Board is agreed to support further development of these schemes to target future investment proposals.
The DCLG Housing Infrastructure Fund is a major capital grant programme of £2.3 billion for new physical infrastructure aimed at unlocking sites in the areas of greatest housing demand and helping to deliver 100,000 new homes in England.