A landmark loan of £6.5m has been exchanged by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority with the East Cambs Trading Company (ECTC) to support a community-led development that will deliver affordable housing for rent and sale in East Cambridgeshire.
The loan, to be repaid within two years, will be used by ECTC to build 54 houses at the West End Gardens site, Haddenham. Of this total, 19 units will be affordable, to be transferred on completion to Haddenham Community Land Trust (CLT). The CLT will manage the houses, ensuring that they remain affordable and available for local people for the long-term.
ECTC is wholly owned by East Cambridgeshire District Council and Palace Green Homes, an operating division of ECTC, will construct and deliver the development at Haddenham. Since Palace Green Homes launched in the spring of 2016, it has been a pioneer at the forefront of community-led development and has already delivered two schemes with local CLTs in East Cambridgeshire. As one of the first development companies to be set up by a local authority, it's focus was innovation; to effect change by capturing land value uplift created from development to make a real difference to communities - not just building homes for a profit.
Roger Thompson, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Director of Housing and Development, said: "This is a milestone for the Combined Authority as it is the first agreement exchanged for developing and supporting the delivery of affordable and private housing that 'recycles the funding', rather than the more traditional grant-form of funding.
"It means that within two years of the commencement of the funding facility, the monies will be re-paid and available to fund further, much-needed, affordable housing projects in the region.
"The Combined Authority Devolution deal included a commitment to work with Community Land Trusts to deliver new schemes recognising the benefits of these schemes to the community. This is a fantastic example of delivering on that commitment."
Phil Rose, Head of Property and Development, Palace Green Homes, said: "Working with the Combined Authority on a project like this makes perfect sense. We both see community-led housing projects as an excellent way to deliver additional homes of all tenures and the Haddenham Community Land Trust will ensure that the affordable homes within the scheme are protected for people that live and work in the local community for generations to come. We are looking forward to making a start on the project next year."