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News release from: 25/01/2024

Report shows increase in building sustainable and affordable homes

Report shows increase in building sustainable and affordable homes

Greater Cambridge Shared Planning – a shared service between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District councils – has set out the progress made during the past year on building sustainable and affordable new homes.   

The Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) for 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 shows that the Councils remain on track to deliver the need for homes identified in their adopted Local Plans. This includes 794 new affordable homes which were completed in 2023/24 – with 322 in Cambridge and 472 in South Cambridgeshire.

Affordable housing is social rented, affordable rented, and intermediate housing provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the housing market. 

Other highlights of the report include: 

Neighbourhood Plans: three new Neighbourhood Plans—West Wickham, Gamlingay, and Fulbourn—were formally made in the monitoring year, showcasing the ongoing commitment to local community development. 

Employment Floorspace: a net gain of 21,338 sqm. Key completions include new office and technology research facilities at Melbourn Science Park and an office building adjacent to Cambridge North Station. 

Retail Space: While there was a small net increase in retail space in South Cambridgeshire, Cambridge experienced a minor net decrease. 

Climate Change Impact: Planning policies in both Council areas positively impacted climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, with planning permissions including water efficiency and carbon reduction conditions. 

Environmental Stewardship: Air quality objectives were met, and policies protecting priority species, habitats, and historic buildings remained effective. 

Quality of Life: Indicators for the Greater Cambridge area continued to show generally favourable results, reflecting a high quality of life for residents. 

Planning bosses say that the Greater Cambridge Authority Monitoring Report demonstrates the councils’ commitment to sustainable development, meeting housing needs, and environmental stewardship.

The findings were discussed during Cambridge City Council’s Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee earlier this month and will be discussed by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet on 6 February.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning, Building Control and Infrastructure at Cambridge City Council, said: “Cambridge City Council has been working for many years to address the housing crisis in the City, and this report provides us with valuable data on our progress to date and the challenges that still face us. I am enormously pleased to see the increase in much needed affordable housing, particularly Council housing, and look forward to seeing this trend continue. 

As well as housing, the report gives us valuable insights into our work to counter the climate emergency, biodiversity, transport issues, community health and more. It is a vital tool for councillors and others to help us understand where things are working well and where we need to do more. I hope it will be widely consulted by everyone working to build a better Cambridge. I’m grateful to the officers who work so hard to prepare it each year.”

Cllr. Dr. Tumi Hawkins, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Planning Policy and Development Management commented: "The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Authority's Annual Monitoring Report unveils a year of significant strides in sustainable development, affordable housing, and environmental stewardship. With 472 new affordable homes completed in South Cambridgeshire, three Neighbourhood Plans formalised in our villages, and an increase in retail space and quality of life, the report exemplifies our commitment to meeting housing needs and fostering community development.”