More affordable homes agreed for Northstowe
Council Members today agreed that half of the properties built in the 3,500 home second phase of the new town of Northstowe will be sold or rented at lower than market rates.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) attended planning committee today to table proposed changes to better-reflect emerging Government policy in Starter Homes. Overall, the agreement between the Council and the HCA will see £73million invested in community facilities at the new town of Northstowe. Proposals were backed by Council Members in principle in July 2015 subject to a section 106 being agreed.
The HCA’s original proposal for affordable housing would have seen 20 per cent Affordable Homes built during the second phase of the town. The new agreement is for 40 per cent Starter Homes and 10 per cent Affordable Rented Homes.
The government announced the Starter Homes initiative earlier this year which would give first time buyers aged between 23 and 40 at least 20 per cent discount on the market price of a home. The maximum cost of the property after discount would also not exceed £250,000.
The HCA’s plans 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 remains unchanged with a £73 million investment in community facilities including; the town centre facilities, two primary schools and over £10 million toward the secondary school being built alongside the first homes.
The combined proposals from phase one, being developed by Gallagher Estates, and phase two by the HCA enable approximately half of Northstowe’s overall projected housing to be built alongside significant elements of the town’s required infrastructure including; the town centre, local road improvements the first local square and primary school, the site for the secondary school, employment land, 2 more primary schools and the Southern Access Road (West) - a crucial new highway link joining the town to the A14.
Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “This agreement presents a huge opportunity for Northstowe as half of the homes in the 3,500 second phase of the town will be subsidised one way or another. Delivering affordable homes is really important to us as it will help people on lower incomes. However, we also know that Northstowe needs to provide housing for a range of people, including a huge number who want to get on the housing ladder but need a helping hand. Starter homes will help meet some of this need and I am really pleased that the agreement we have negotiated includes a review mechanism so we can make sure we take account of the final national policy on starter homes. This could include making them available to more people.
“Now that we can issue the planning permission, the Homes and Communities Agency can mobilise their contractors as there is a huge amount of work to do to prepare the site before facilities and homes can be built.”
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the Government’s land and development agency developing around 85 per cent of the new town which includes ex-MoD land.
Paul Kitson, Head of Northstowe for the HCA said: “We have been working really hard to get to this point. In particular this year, as well as negotiations with the Council on the agreement, we have been bringing forward all the work we can including the design code, remediation work, the town centre strategy and now archaeological work so that we can satisfy our planning conditions and are ready to hit the ground running with our construction programme.”
Phase One (Gallagher Longstanton Ltd)
- Major road improvement works completed 2016
- Bloor Homes started on site October 2016
- The first Northstowe homes complete February 2017
- The first building completed July 2015 - a Church of England primary school
Phase Two (HCA)
- Remediation and ground investigation work 2016/17
- Start on site for construction 2018
- First occupations 2019
When complete, Northstowe will have up to 10,000 new homes and an anticipated population of around 24,400 people. It already benefits from the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway which runs alongside the development, and which will have dedicated links into and through the town, and will offer quality transport links and quick connections to the towns of Cambridge and St Ives, a secondary school operated by Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, and a vibrant town centre, all offering plenty of employment opportunities for local people.