New homes & communities
The Housing Board works with partners to deliver new homes within new communities, to support economic success and to meet housing need in our area.
- We live and work in an area of great economic success.
- There are high levels of new housing delivery; even during the recession homes continued to be delivered as set out in County-wide annual monitoring reports. Although this delivery tells a positive story, there are consequences when housing pressure in an area leads to problems with access and affordability, in urban, market town and rural communities.
- Being a large area, naturally the picture varies. In some places other kinds of pressure are felt, where land values are lower and new development is harder to get off the ground. That’s why we create a strategic housing market assessment and regular housing market bulletins to track changes in our market and compare local areas to the regional and national picture.
- The Housing Board supports creating mixed and cohesive communities across our area, while respecting our environmental assets; it also responds to the diverse needs of local communities including migrant workers, Gypsies and Travellers and other hard-to-reach groups.
The local picture
What data do we have and use to analyse the need for new homes, including affordable homes, across our housing market area?
Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)
Being a large area, naturally the picture varies. Some parts of the area feel other kinds of pressure, where land values are lower and new development is harder to get off the ground.
That’s why we have created a strategic housing market assessment supplemented by three-monthly housing market bulletins to keep our housing market information up to date.
You can find the SHMA on the our housing market page.
Population, housing and employment forecasts
You can find a useful introduction and a link to our population, housing and employment forecasts on the our housing market page.
Housing market bulletin
Regular housing market bulletins help us track changes in our market and compare local areas to the regional and national picture.
You can find recent bulletins on the housing market bulletin page.
New housing development surveys
In late 2017 Cambridgeshire County Council’s Business Intelligence Team’s Research Group renewed the programme of surveys of new housing developments. The survey aims to find out about households in newer communities in order to assist in informing future planning decisions and service provisions for new developments. These surveys build on those carried out between 2006 and 2012, included below.
The most recent survey completed is that for Northstowe, with the survey undertaken between July and November 2022:
- Northstowe New Development Survey Report
- Appendix A Northstowe new development survey: detailed tables
- Appendix B Northstowe new development survey letter
- Appendix C Northstowe new development survey form
New development surveys of the Cambridge Southern Fringe developments were undertaken between June and September 2018:
- Cambridge Southern Fringe Survey Report
- Appendix A Southern Fringe Survey Detailed Tables
- Appendix C Southern Fringe Survey Letter
- Appendix D Southern Fringe Survey Form
Between October 2017 and February 2018 Cambridgeshire County Council Research Group carried out a survey at Love’s Farm in St. Neots. The preliminary findings were presented to the Love’s Farm Community Association, you can find the presentation to Love’s Farm Community Association 2018 here. You can find a summary of the findings here Love’s Farm summary.
Between 2006 and 2013 Cambridgeshire County Council Research Group carried out surveys of new housing development for seven districts in our area, to help learn more about who moves in and what choices they make. There are seven individual reports and one summary report which draws out some wider conclusions:
- New housing development survey summary 2013
- Cambridge 2012
- St Edmundsbury 2011 (now part of West Suffolk council)
- Red Lodge (Forest Heath) 2011 (now part of West Suffolk council)
- Fenland 2009/10
- East Cambridgeshire 2009/10
- Huntingdonshire 2007
- Cambourne 2006
You can find our Local Economic Assessments here.
Joint strategic needs assessments
Housing and built environment JSNA: In 2016 a new joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) was produced about new housing developments and the built environment.
For more general background on the link between new homes, health and wellbeing, please see the Health and Housing JSNA, published 2013.
Needs of particular communities
The Housing Board supports the creation of mixed and cohesive communities while respecting our environmental assets.
The Board also responds to the diverse needs of local communities including migrant workers, Gypsies and Travellers and other hard-to-reach groups. Our Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment 2016 sets out accommodation needs for these households across our local area.
An assessment of specialist and supported housing need is due to be published by the Cambridgeshire Research Group in Spring 2019, following the approach taken in the Sheffield-Hallam assessment of the housing market for older people, which you can find on this page.
Monitoring housing delivery
The area has a continued record of housing delivery, even during the recession homes continued to be delivered as set out in County-wide annual monitoring reports. Although this delivery tells a positive story, there are consequences when housing pressure in an area leads to problems with access and affordability, in urban, market town and rural communities.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Business Intelligence Team publishes updates on housing development across the county. In brief, the team completes two kinds of survey of housing development to monitor local progress.
There is an annual survey of all housing development sites, and the stage they have reached at the end of March each year, at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk .
Housing contributes to the local economy
Useful data was published by the National Housing Federation in 2013 setting out how housing activity drives local economies, giving examples of the value – like the increased GDP – housing association activity brings. The reports quantify some of the benefits to the both the Greater Cambridge-Greater Peterborough and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership areas.
Further analysis by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, carried out for the National Housing Federation, shows:
Self build and custom build
The Government has pledged to double the number of self and custom built homes constructed in England by 2020.
Local authorities are required to keep a register of people who want to build their own homes, and to consider this register in their planning, housing, land disposal and regeneration activities.
South Cambridgeshire is a self-build vanguard authority, and in this role would like to share some of the initiatives they are implementing and to explore a proposal for a regional self build – custom build ‘service hub’ with partners and neighbours. You can find out more about the vanguard status, the regional hub proposal, and events being held on this page.
You can find out more about each district’s approach using our local Housing Guide.
In October 2011, the Housing Board published Delivering Localism which sets out some ways social housing providers contribute to local communities and economies. The report, written by Colin Wiles with contributions from a range of local housing providers, gives a number of case studies from across our local area which outline how they:
- Build the big society.
- Give young people a good start in life.
- Help younger children and promote health and well-being.
- Put tenants in the driving seat.
- Support older and vulnerable residents.
- Provide financial advice and support.
- Help tenants into work.
- Provide homes and communities in rural areas.
Cambridgeshire’s Quality Charter
The Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth sets out core principles of the level of quality to be expected in new developments in Cambridgeshire. Successful housing growth cannot be achieved in isolation and it is vital that partners are able to work together towards common goals, sharing a common understanding of the kind of communities we wish to create. The core principles of the charter are
Please follow this link to find out more about the Charter in action and about the work of the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel.
Previous research commissioned by Cambridgeshire Horizons set out some principles behind creating Balanced and mixed communities. Although Horizons has since closed, the report still contains some useful principles which are worth remembering in areas of significant housing growth.
Standards for new homes
Government departments have been working to simplify the standards new homes must be built to. In November 2014, Andy Von Bradsky, chairman of PRP Architects, talked the Housing Development Forum through some of the changes, which have now come into force.
In addition, the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel provides scrutiny of development proposals for the major growth sites in Cambridgeshire.
You can find a page about build standards, summarising space standards for new homes and how homes can be visitable, assessable and adaptable here.
Planners working together
You can find out more about planning on this page including how local planners work together to assess and meet the area’s needs, and the plans they have created. This co-operative approach is a very valuable resource for our local area.
Homes England is a major partner as they manage funding and other resources to support delivery of new homes and communities.
Local enterprise partnerships
The Greater Cambridge-Greater Peterborough LEP and the New Anglia LEP support economic growth, which links to housing as workers want to live near to jobs in order not to commute too far, and employers need to know housing is available so it is not a barrier to workers taking up or retaining jobs in their area.
Following the success of our area’s devolution bid – outlined under the heading “devolution and the combined authority” here – the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority formed.
You can visit their website here to learn more.
Alongside this, a group of fifteen housing association partners has formed, aiming to support the work of the Combined Authority in delivering the new homes promised.
This group is called Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and you can find out more in this report (pdf).