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Decision details

Report on progress toward HRA Estate Regeneration programme Including a report on a proposed scheme at Aylesborough Close

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

This report updates the committee on work undertaken to date toward outlining regeneration opportunities across the councils stock, and recommends approval by the Executive Councillor of proposed approaches to regeneration activities. This report is accompanied by an updated regeneration policy detailing the council’s approach to engaging with local residents and stakeholders.

Decision:

Matter for Decision

 

The Council committed to a proposed new delivery programme of 1,000 new Council homes at the Housing Scrutiny Committee on 24th September 2020.

 

The city’s constrained boundaries as well as emerging differences in quality standards across new and old council housing stock has led to a proactive approach by council officers to reviewing the potential for estate regeneration as part of the programme.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Noted the progress made to date towards identifying possible suitable candidate sites to be considered for regeneration as part of the new housing programme and the estates that have already been identified.

  ii.  Noted that the programme of review of estates will be carried forward including survey work and consultation with residents. Ward Members will be consulted prior to the commencement of survey work and prior to the commencement of consultation with residents on particular estates.

  iii.  Approved the revisions to the Council regeneration policy as set out in Appendix 2 and discussed in Part 5 of the officer’s report and to add the policy to the council’s lettings policy.

  iv.  Approved that the scheme be brought forward at Aylesborough Close with an indicative capital budget of £19,030,000 to cover all site assembly, construction costs, professional fees and further associated fees.

  v.  Authorised the Strategic Director in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Housing to approve variations to the scheme at Aylesborough Close including the number of units and mix of property types and sizes outlined in this report. 

  vi.  Approved that, subject to Council approval of the budget, delegated authority be given to the Executive Councillor for Housing in conjunction with the Strategic Director to enable the Aylesborough Close site to be developed through Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) subject to a value for money assessment to be carried out on behalf of the Council.

 vii.  Delegated authority to the Strategic Director to commence Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) proceedings on Leasehold properties to be demolished to enable the development at Aylesborough Close, should these be required.

viii.  Delegated authority to the Strategic Director to serve initial Demolition Notices under the Housing Act 1985.

  ix.  Noted the work done to date toward investigating the potential for modular rooftop and infill development across the Council’s holdings as outlined in Part 7 of the officer’s report.

  x.  Approved the inclusion of airspace developments in the programme of new housing development for which finance has already been made available.

  xi.  Approved the outline approach of proceeding with a Joint Venture partnership as the preferred method for implementation of modular rooftop (airspace) development, subject to further investigation and a further report.

 xii.  Authorised the Head of the Housing Development Agency to approve a site for a pilot project subject to consultation with the Executive Councillor for Housing, the Head of Housing, the Head of Finance and the Ward Members.

 

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 Head of the Housing Development Agency.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Tenant and Leaseholder representatives had insisted that a letter was sent to tenants and leaseholders if their estate was being considered as part of the regeneration programme.

  ii.  Noted that a rigorous examination of sites proposed for regeneration would be undertaken and that this would include what further works were needed and any alternative options.

  iii.  Noted the proposal to use a joint venture to deliver the air space programme and queried if local people would be trained to retain specialist knowledge and skills in Cambridge.

  iv.  Questioned why a tenant in rent arrears might not be offered alternative housing. Referred to page 284 of the agenda.

  v.  Noted reference to compulsory purchase powers and demolition notices in relation to Aylesborough Close and queried what steps were taken to inform the community about these processes.

  vi.  Noted reference to roof top developments and queried if this could happen on existing homes. Asked what steps would be taken to support existing residents. Did not want the living standards of existing residents lowered as a result of these proposals.

  vii.  Noted that the number of units on site was doubled and asked if the density on all sites would be increased.

 

The Head of the Housing Development Agency and Head of Housing said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Confirmed that they were only in the early stages of the joint venture air space project and that local labour and supply chains would be encouraged.

  ii.  Most tenants were on social rent, new homes would be built for affordable rent. There were clear provisions in the Council’s Lettings policy; tenants who were affected by redevelopment would be awarded emergency housing status and would therefore get top priority for rehousing.

  iii.  Confirmed that modular roof top developments would involve building on top of existing houses. There were benefits to this type of development as it was a good way to get improvements to existing housing stock for example adding a lift to the development.

  iv.  The recommendations proposed in the officer report were the same as those used on previous reports in relation to formal notices. Compulsory purchase powers had not had to be used before as they had been able to work with existing tenants. If it got to the point where there was only one tenant preventing the development going ahead then more serious options may need to be considered.

  v.  Noted that each site needed to be assessed on its own merits. Development was a planning led process, they were not working to a fixed density on sites.

 

The Executive Councillor commented:

  i.  That the council was only at the initial stages of exploring potential sites for redevelopment, no decisions had been made, they were only at the start of the process.

 

The Committee resolved:

- unanimously to endorse recommendations 2.1 and 2.2.

- unanimously to endorse recommendation 2.3.

- unanimously to endorse recommendations 2.4 to 2.8.

- by 7 votes to 0 to endorse recommendations 2.9 to 2.12.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

 

Publication date: 12/11/2021

Date of decision: 23/09/2021