News release from 05/09/2018

Multi-million-pound Government bid to unlock 149 new Affordable homes

Multi-million-pound Government bid to unlock 149 new Affordable homes

A bid to increase borrowing by £17 million is being submitted by South Cambridgeshire District Council to Government to help deliver a further 149 new affordable homes.

Councillors agreed to submit the bid at a Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday 5 September) after the Government launched an initiative in June this year that allowed local councils to apply to borrow more money if they could show that Affordable housing schemes could be delivered quickly.

The Government set a limit on the amount councils can borrow in 2012, and South Cambridgeshire District Council has not been able to borrow money to invest in building new Council homes since that time. This has meant fewer homes could be delivered.

The Government has said that bids under the new scheme must be deliverable within three years, on land the Council has control over and that they will look favourably on bids from authorities with a proven track record of delivery.

The project to build the 149 homes will cost around £32 million. The Council will use money from Council homes sold under Right to Buy and developer contributions from schemes in the area where providing affordable housing on site was not possible to make up the balance.

The Council is working with housebuilder Hill on several of the sites to be delivered over the next three years.

The Government’s process of assessing bids means the Council expects to know whether they have been given approval to borrow the additional funding by the end of Autumn.

Since 2014 the Council has completed 74 new council homes. This includes 10 new Affordable homes in Gamlingay, 7 in Great Abington and 23 in Waterbeach. The Council is currently on site with developer partners building 33 new build homes, and a further 36 new homes will start on site by the end of the year.

Cllr Hazel Smith, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Increasing the number of local homes that people can afford to live in is one of our top priorities, and the Government needs to give us all the tools to help us deliver more of them as quickly as possible. The borrowing cap has tied our hands and this Government initiative helps take the shackles off to some extent. If successful, this bid could help us house 149 additional families from our waiting lists in high quality homes at a cost they can genuinely afford to pay.

“Our officers have done an excellent job getting this bid together so quickly since the initiative was announced a couple of months ago and I am very optimistic that our track record on delivery will convince the Government to support this.”