£2 million bid to Government to unlock “vibrant” High Street and affordable homes

28 September 2017

A local council has bid for £2 million of Government funding to develop the High Street in Cambourne and deliver much-needed new affordable homes.

The bid by South Cambridgeshire District Council was lodged today (Thursday 28 September) with the Department for Communities and Local Government for funding available to get stalled developments moving.

Plans for around 8,000 square feet of retail space off the High Street in
Cambourne were given the go-ahead by Council planners at the end of 2012, but the development wasn't viable for developers due to the high costs of widening the road and dealing with the relocation of a complex network of electricity cables, sewers and key broadband links.

The bid to Government would help deliver new shops, retail units and
restaurants for local people at Cambourne High Street with 120 flats and homes being included as part of the plans.

Councillors have said that the bid would almost double the retail space that
could be delivered to make sure the High Street continues to thrive and that
the national funding would also unlock a previously undeliverable scheme for additional new homes.

The investment to widen the High Street will allow delivery vehicles to access
the proposed new retail units and help provide an improved bus route through
the heart of Cambourne.

The bids for the Marginal Viability Funding Pot will be assessed by the
Department for Communities and Local Government by the end of November with councils finding out if they were successful between December and February.

The maximum bid for a single scheme under the funding pot is £10 million.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council's Cabinet member for finance, said: "We want our communities to be thriving places where people want to live, work and go to school. At the moment this scheme is not viable for developers due to the very high costs of the work on the High Street. Despite planning permission being issued for the retail space back in 2012 the plans have not got off the ground. This bid would both unlock new homes and give Cambourne an even more vibrant centre through a wider variety of shops and restaurants.

"Delivering a mix of housing to meet the range of needs people have
locally is really important to us, including affordable homes."

Cllr Ruth Betson, South Cambridgeshire District Councillor for Cambourne, said: “When I talk to people in the villages of Cambourne there is a great demand for more choice in local shops and restaurants. This bid is key to delivering this for Cambourne and creating more of a community and hub at its heart.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Local MP, Heidi Allen, have both written to the Council to support the bid.