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Decision details

Mill Road: Project Update

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


To approve the revised proposals and budget for the front end of the site at the former Mill Road depot.


Matter for Decision

The report sought approval to provide additional social housing to meet housing needs in Cambridge and replace social housing lost through Right to Buy. Replace existing council social housing that no longer meet current standards or was becoming less popular with residents due to factors relating to space and the impact of fuel poverty. Build new house types that would better meet the overall mix of future Affordable Housing needs and improve the energy efficiency of the Council’s housing stock.


Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Noted the updated Phase 1 development which will be delivered at the back of the site as shown on the plan in Appendix 1 of the Officer’s report.

  ii.  Approved the strategic brief for the front part of the site following the withdrawal of YMCA Trinity Group.  Development of this land will form Phase 2 of the development and will primarily be a housing development with the affordable units contributing to the Devolution Programme target.  Phase 2 would also deliver the in perpetuity council owned community facility, delivery of which will be funded through S106 contributions. 

  iii.  Approved the proposal for a second planning application for the front of the site.  The development proposal on which the planning application will be based will meet the strategic brief outlined in paragraph 4.8 and the Council’s strategic and corporate objectives for the site.  It would be informed by the output from the public consultation  and pre- application planning process.  Submission of the final planning application to be delegated for approval by Board and Strategic Director and the Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) Board.

  iv.  Approved to delegate authority for agreement of the final mix of affordable housing to the Strategic Directors in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Housing. Note that the scheme is still indicative and authorise the Strategic Directors in consultation with the Executive Councillor to approve variations to the scheme including the number of units and mix of property types and sizes outlined in this report in line with Council strategic objectives and housing requirements.


Decision of the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

  i.  Approve the indicative  proposed investment plan for Phase 2 of the development as outlined in confidential Appendix 4 of the Officer’s report with the high level commitments associated with the General Fund and HRA. The investment plan would be refined in line with final project plans post planning permission determination and approval by the CIP Board, with the Council’s funding built in to the relevant Budget Setting Report. 


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Strategic Director which referred to the transfer of the land known as Mill Road Depot to CIP for redevelopment; in December 2017 the land was transferred to CIP.


In response to Member’s questions the Strategic Director and Executive Councillor for Housing said the following:

  i.  Agreed it was unfortunate the YMCA Trinity had been withdrawn from the development.

  ii.  A significant number of viability assessments had been undertaken and believed the plans for both phase 1 and 2 was the best approach for the development.

  iii.  Phase 2 would allow the Council to deliver an additional 20 council houses on the site which was a welcome contribution.

  iv.  The site had been developed in line with the sustainable housing guide, as were all Council build programmes.

  v.  There were a number of factors that contributed to the cost of development of affordable housing on site and why the Council choose to maintain 50% of affordable housing on site:

·  For the scheme to be viable and to be deliverable, subsidies from the sale of private housing were needed to contribute to affordable housing

·  The higher the number of affordable housing the bigger the impact on the funding available.

·  When clustering high levels of affordable housing on site, there was a need to consider whether it could be supported from a community and sociable point of view to have increased levels of affordable housing in one place, such as at the front of the site. 

·  To increase the number of council homes would unfortunately decrease the value of the individual market units. It was not simply a case of requiring additional funding to increase the number of council houses. An additional increase would decrease the income gained from the sale of the private houses, thus losing income.

  vi.  Many developments in the City had less than 40% affordable housing on site, therefore 50% was an achievement the Council should be proud of.

 vii.  The Council planned to purchase 20 of the market units for sub market rent; the level of rent had not yet been agreed.

viii.  Phase 2 would deliver in perpetuity council owned community facility which would be at the front of the site.

  ix.  It had been proposed to have one larger community facility shared by the Cromwell Road and Mill Road development, located in the centre of the two, within a 15 minute walk.

  x.  Possible community space available in the evenings for community activity on the Cromwell Road development. 


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor for Housing and the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources approved the recommendations.


Publication date: 12/03/2019

Date of decision: 27/09/2018