New homes, delivered new ways

There are a number of new approaches to delivering more homes. This page outlines a few being used and explored locally including self build, custom build, community land trusts, modular homes, off-site construction, joint ventures and the Greater Cambridge Housing Development Agency.

Self build, custom build

South Cambridgeshire District Council is one eleven vanguard authorities which are piloting the Government’s Right to Build agenda. Here is a link to their submission to become a vanguard authority. All local authorities are required to:

  • Set up and administrate a self build/custom build register of interested parties.
  • Hold a register of land for people seeking land for self-build and custom house building.
  • Grant enough suitable development permissions on serviced plots of land to meet the demand for self-build and custom house building in their area. This demand is evidenced by the number of people on the register.

Proposal for a regional hub

As a vanguard authority, South Cambridgeshire would like to talk to partners and neighbours about setting up a regional service. South Cambridgeshire already runs an applicant register which will be supported by a sub regional choice based lettings system. The district is poised to launch a land register, and has built partnerships around self build – custom build mortgage finance.

Within the regional service, and depending on partner and neighbour feedback, South Cambridgeshire might:

  • Roll out an applicant register to create a local authority right to build “hub”.
  • Create a land register, held locally for neighbours as well as regionally.
  • Create a brownfield sites register.
  • Roll out events and support.
  • Create a self sustaining Right to Build service hosted by South Cambridgeshire DC.
  • Create a regional group to guide and steer future development.

You can find out more about self-building South Cambridgeshire here.

Community Land Trusts

What is a Community Land Trust?

A CLT is a non-profit, community-based organisation run by volunteers to develop housing, workspaces or other assets that may be required to address a need in their local area. The key criteria of a CLT are defined by statute in Section 79 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 which states that:

  • A CLT must be established as a not-for-profit organisation with a membership that is open to all who live and work in a community. The members must also own and control the organisation.
  • A CLT must be established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental interests of a local community.
  • The land and property assets of a CLT must be used to provide a benefit to a local community and must be protected in the long-term by a legal asset-lock.

You can find out much more by visiting East Cambridgeshire’s web pages all about their approach and successes, here.

Modular homes and off-site construction

South Cambridgeshire is investigating the local market place for modular construction and off-site construction. Numerous examples exist in the East of England, where parts of the fabrication process are to be found. Our aim is to identify and assess each, and assess what role might be played in our approach to modern methods of construction.

An initial report commissioned via Instinctively Green will detail the advantages and disadvantages of modular with particular reference to a factory producing modular homes.

A project with the University of East Anglia will research the use of modular construction – working with UEA and Adapt, plus input from offshore industry to assess the cost benefits, supply chain and practicality of modular construction – in Eastern region. Following up on this we hope (funding permitting) to embark on the UEA scoping project that develop a supply chain map.

South Cambridgeshire is embarking on two further related projects:

  • A pilot modular unit – built by Cubicco homes on an HRA owned piece of land (subject to Planning) that will be part constructed in the Smartlife Centre in Cambridge using their apprentices and overseen by the construction experts and project managers from Cubicco. This unit when complete will be a ‘show house’ for 3 months to allow visits, publicity, and learning. We will then sell it with any ‘profit’ going to the General Fund. Likely that we will wholly fund this project through the general fund. 2017-2018.
  • A small new build development of affordable homes built on land owned by South Cambridgeshire’s Housing Revenue Account. We have a site identified – progress here will be subject to planning and funding. The aim here is to pilot an affordable rented home that can be let at a council rent.

Joint ventures

Here are some examples of delivery vehicles working in our local area:

  • Medesham Homes in Peterborough is an investment partnership between Peterborough City Council and Cross Keys Homes
  • Greater Cambridge Housing Development Agency works with South Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire County and Cambridge City councils, and includes an investment partnership with Hill Residential
  • Palace Green Homes works in East Cambridgeshire to create Community Land Trusts, with 553 homes forecast for 2016 – 2020.
  • Ermine Street Housing is based in South Cambridgeshire to secure market rented homes. You can find out more here.
  • Cambridgeshire Housing Investment Company is based in Council Cambridgeshire County Council and works to develop the County Council’s own land holdings.

Two new joint ventures in Peterborough

Peterborough City Council has taken the decision to play a much greater role in the growth and regeneration of the city.

Peterborough Investment Partnership

In January 2015 the Council established its first development joint venture with a private sector partner. Through this joint venture we will realise more opportunities for growth in Peterborough by bringing forward surplus land in the Council’s ownership to deliver new office, retail, housing and leisure facilities to the city. The Peterborough Investment Partnership has already demonstrated the benefits of the Council’s direct engagement in development delivery.
Planning permission has been obtained for a landmark regeneration scheme on a site at Fletton Quays which includes the delivery of 280 homes. Construction is expected to begin on site towards the end of 2016.

Medesham Homes

Separately, in July 2016 the creation of a specifically housing focussed Joint Venture between the Council and Cross Keys Homes was agreed with the objective of delivering new housing of all types and tenures. This will shift the Council’s role from ‘enabler’ to a direct developer of housing. A £20m capital budget has been set aside as potential funding for the Council to invest in the joint venture project and £14.6m of corporate affordable housing capital funding has been allocated specifically to support affordable housing provision in projects that the joint venture, Medesham Homes, will bring forward in Peterborough.

Cross Keys and Kier joint venture

In March 2017 Kier Living and Cross Keys Homes announced a new joint venture to leverage the value of part of Kier’s land bank in the East of England and to provide an investment vehicle for Cross Keys Homes.

Kier will transfer thirteen of its residential developments in the east of England, valued at up to £97m, into the joint venture, which will generate up to £64m cash for reinvestment.

Kier will provide its development, land-buying, construction and sales expertise to the venture. Cross Keys Homes will provide access to key strategic relationships in the region for the benefit of the joint venture. Kier will hold a 90% shareholding and Cross Keys Homes will have a 10% shareholding in the joint venture.

Kier and Cross Keys Homes have a long-standing relationship in the eastern region, operating in complementary sectors of the housing market and most recently working together on the redevelopment of Peterborough district hospital to provide 43 properties.

Greater Cambridge Housing Development Agency

The Greater Cambridge Housing Development Agency (HDA) was set up to help manage the delivery of new, affordable homes in sustainable locations across Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire – a key factor in ensuring economic growth and quality of life for residents and thereby in supporting local businesses and organisations.

The aim is to deliver 250 new homes per year for the next three to four years, by working with local authority partners, private companies and other organisations across the housing sector. This supports the commitment by Greater Cambridge City Deal to provide 1,000 additional homes and development opportunities, over and above those already set out in the region’s local plans.

The agency was formally established in April 2016 by a partnership of three local authorities – Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council – with set-up funding from the Greater Cambridge City Deal.

“Our vision is to provide a leading role in helping local authorities to drive – with pace and certainty – the delivery of affordable housing in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.”

As the only local development agency with a public service agenda, the HDA will work closely with public sector organisations and private developers to bring together the planning and commercial aspects of housing development to provide a model designed to deliver the right housing, in the right place, at the right time to support growth.
The HDA will manage the spending of the Devolution Housing Grant of £70m to provide at least 500 new social rented homes in the city starting over the next five years. The housing development agency also manages the South Cambridgeshire District Council Right to Build scheme.

Current projects include

  • Virido development, Cambridge
  • Uphall Road, Cambridge
  • Park Street car park, Cambridge
  • Pampisford Road, Great Abington
  • Longstanton

Completed projects

  • Chalk Hill, Foxton
  • New house in Chalk Hill, Foxton
  • Scholar’s Court, Cambridge
  • New house in Scholar’s Court
  • Homerton College and Hill Residential.

You can find out more here.