Comment on housing mix for second phase of new town

18 November 2016

Half of the properties built in the 3,500 home second phase of the new town of Northstowe could be sold or rented at lower than market rates under new plans submitted by developers, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Council bosses are calling on local people to have their say over the next two weeks on proposals for 40% Starter Homes – homes that will be discounted to help first time buyers get on the property ladder – and a further 10% Affordable Homes that would be rented to local people on housing waiting lists.

South Cambridgeshire District Council is giving local people a chance to comment on the proposal ahead of the Council’s Planning Committee considering them in December.

The HCA’s original plans – that were approved in July last year – would have seen 20% Affordable Homes built during the second phase of the town. Since then the government has announced a Starter Homes initiative with Northstowe being one of five pilot government housing sites.

The government’s Starter Homes initiative would give first time buyers aged between 23 and 40 at least 20% discount on the market price of a home. The maximum cost of the property after discount would also not exceed £250,000.

Further details are expected to be published by the government about Starter Homes soon, after feedback was given from up and down the country on their initial policy. In a letter from the HCA they have said that their proposed agreement for Starter Homes will include a mechanism for review so it can respond to the details of the final national policy.

The rest of the developer agreement for the second phase of the town will remain unaffected with a £73 million investment by the developer in community facilities as agreed in July last year.

The agreement will see investment to deliver facilities, including the town centre, two primary schools and a £40 million contribution towards primary schools and the secondary school.

Construction of the first homes in the second phase of the town are expected to start in 2019. Some of the planning conditions on the application mean no residents would be able to move into the homes covered by the HCA’s application until the A14 is upgraded.

The town is being developed jointly by Gallagher Estates and the government’s housing and land delivery body, the HCA.

Homes and community facilities in Gallagher’s first phase of the town are currently being built. The first homes have gone on sale and the first residents could move in in the spring.

When complete, Northstowe will have up to 10,000 new homes and an anticipated population of around 25,000 people.

Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “Everyone knows there is a pressing demand for more housing in the area to help people on all incomes, whether they are looking to rent or buy. Delivering Affordable Housing for those on lower incomes is vitally important but the emerging national policy recognises that there are a lot of families out there that need help trying to get on the housing ladder. Increasing the quantity of subsidised homes being offered during the second phase of Northstowe could be a great opportunity for the area as we need the town to meet the varied needs of South Cambridgeshire residents. Before we make a decision we want to hear what local people think and I would urge you to have your say. Our number one priority at Northstowe is quality as we want it to be a great place to live, work and go to school.”

To comment on the proposed change to the HCA’s developer agreement visit www.scambs.gov.uk/content/northstowe-news. The consultation closes on Friday 2 December.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee will meet to discuss the proposal on Wednesday 7 December.