A ground-breaking alliance of 15 housing associations have are set to build up to 40,000 affordable homes in Cambridgeshire over the next 20 years - with at least 2,000 built by 2021.
The housing associations includes Clarion Housing, which manages the former Fenland District Council housing stoc, the Luminus Group which runs the Ferry Project in Wisbech and Sanctuary owns properties across Fenland including some off Gaul Road in March.
The alliance is called Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and will work with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to deliver the much-needed houses.
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.
The collaboration between the alliance and the combined authority will use part of the grant to build housing of mixed tenure, including rented, ensuring there are homes suitable for people on a range of incomes.
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 at Littleport last week where Cambridgeshire based housing association, CHS Group, are developing 16 new homes with funding from the Combined Authority.
The launch was attended by Councillor Peter Topping, portfolio holder for New Homes and Communities at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Alan Lewin, chairman of Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Nigel Howlett, chief executive of CHS Group.
Coun Topping said: “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.”