A ground-breaking alliance of 15 housing associations announced yesterday that they will work with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to deliver up to 40,000 affordable homes over the next 20 years.
In March 2017 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough negotiated a devolution deal to give them greater powers to run their area. They were the first devolved authority to be allocated a specific housing grant worth £170 million.
This unique collaboration between the housing alliance, called Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority will use part of this grant to build housing of mixed tenure, including affordable rents. This will ensure homes are suitable for people on a range of incomes.
They will start by building at least 2,000 additional affordable homes by 2021.
The need for affordable housing in this area has never been greater. According to the Home Truths 2016/2017 East of England report, Cambridge is the third most expensive place to buy a home in the region. The average house price in Cambridge is nearly 17 times the average local salary. Moreover, in the five years between 2011 and 2015, over 2,000 too few homes were built in Cambridgeshire and 869 too few homes were built in Peterborough.
Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough collectively own and manage 48,277 homes in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area. Every year, the housing associations involved add almost £100 million to the local economy and support over 1,000 jobs.
As part of this new deal, they will match every £1 of the Combined Authority’s investment with up to £6 of their own.
The collaboration officially launched yesterday in Littleport, Ely, where Cambridgeshire based housing association, CHS Group, are developing 16 new homes with funding from the Combined Authority. 11 of those homes will be let at affordable rents and the remaining 5 will be shared ownership. The site launch was attended by Councillor Peter Topping, Portfolio Holder for New Homes and Communities at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Alan Lewin, Chair of Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Nigel Howlett, Chief Executive of CHS Group.
Alan Lewin, Chair of Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, says:
“As the first devolved authority to be established with its own housing grant programme, this is a ground-breaking collaboration for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This region is unique amongst devolved areas due to its diverse mix of urban and rural communities, ranging from world class high-tech business centres to small, agricultural communities.
“The housing associations in Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will work together with the Combined Authority, Local Authorities, and Homes England to provide diverse quality homes, including housing let at affordable rents, mixed tenure, and outright sale. This will ensure there are homes for people on a range of incomes, while also supporting sustainable growth in our urban and rural communities.”
Councillor Peter Topping, Portfolio Holder for New Homes and Communities at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, says:
“We know we need to build more homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and particularly increase the amount of affordable housing we have. This is a step towards making this happen so that our children can look forward to making their own homes here, in the communities they’ve grown up in.
“Housing associations are a key partner in bringing affordable housing forward, so it’s great news that we now have this shared set of objectives to work from. I welcome the commitments made by Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in this statement and look forward to working with them to ensure we see some real results as quickly as possible.”
Housing associations in Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:
• Accent House
• Aldwyck Housing Group
• CHS Group
• Clarion Housing Group
• Cross Keys
• Flagship Group
• Havebury Housing Partnership
• Hundred Houses Society
• Hyde Group
• Luminus Group
• Longhurst Group