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Combined Authority Board approves spend from quarter million fund for innovative affordable housing schemes

Combined Authority Board approves spend from quarter million fund for innovative affordable housing schemes

The Combined Authority has today approved funding for a new dedicated team tasked with establishing Community Land Trusts to strengthen communities and deliver affordable housing across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The board also signed off on spend from a £150,000 pot to deliver the Mayor’s flagship affordable ownership housing scheme ‘£100k Homes’.

The cash for a community housing programme team will be drawn from £100,000 ear marked by the Authority to roll out Community Land Trusts to five of the six district authorities, with East Cambridgeshire District Council already benefitting.

Community Land Trusts are run by communities who buy and own the land collectively.  Houses are sold or rented at a rate that is linked permanently to local incomes rather than property market prices meaning they remain affordable

The Combined Authority board today confirmed the first tranche of £100,000 funding will be spent on establishing a community housing team, who will be responsible for setting up Community Land Trusts across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  The team will begin engaging with people and communities to build an evidence base of local need that will be taken forward to develop a business case for delivery.

Mayor James Palmer said:

“The present situation of local working people and families being unable to stay in their communities or close to their place of work because they cannot access housing they can afford simply must be put to an end.

“The fact there is a housing crisis where demand for affordable housing far outstrips supply is sadly not news.  What is novel is Cambridgeshire and Peterborough stepping forward to spearhead £100k Homes, a never been seen before model for affordable home ownership that will provide employed residents struggling to enter the housing market with the opportunity to live and work locally.

“We are also leading the charge stimulating and scaling up community led housing that will give power to local people to design and develop their own affordable homes.  The vision for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is to have the most advanced community-led housing sector in the UK, with a steady supply of affordable housing available for local working people.  This is not only morally right, it is crucial for the flourishing of our local economy and future prosperity.”

Increases to house prices have far outstripped wage growth, particularly in Greater Cambridgeshire, forcing people to live further away from their places of employment.  This has impacted on quality of life for residents as people face long commutes and risks undermining future economic growth.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Housing Strategy published in September last year, recognised a need for genuinely affordable housing across the Combined Authority Area. It also outlined a gap in the market for those who do not qualify for traditional affordable housing but for whom open market housing is out of reach.

£100k Homes and Community Land Trusts were highlighted as solutions to be developed to tackle the housing crisis and meet the demand for cheaper housing for local people.

Expenditure for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Community Housing Programme and £100k Homes will be monitored through the Combined Authority Housing & Communities Committee.