A Cambridge City Council website

Cambridge City Council

Council and democracy

Home > Council and Democracy > Decision details

Decision details

New Council Housing Programme

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Approval of a plan to deliver an additional 1,000 Council homes, building on the success of the 500 programme. This report will include newly identified sites, delivery models and funding options.

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report set out key issues for the committee to consider in formulating a new Housing Programme. The report outlined the strategic objectives of the programme, the key assumptions that had been used as a starting point and steps to investigate potential opportunities to move the programme forward. The report is in line with the provisions and assumptions in the HRA MTFS report. 

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

i.  Approved the bringing forward of a development programme to provide new housing in 2022-32 by the Council.

ii.  Approve the strategic guidance for the aims of the programme set out in Section 4 of this report.

iii.  Approve the allocation of £1m to the 2020/21 budget and £2m to the 2021/22 budget to allow early investment in feasibility, site investigation and land assembly from the overall resource incorporated in the MTFS for the delivery of this programme.

iv.  Approve the proposal to report progress on development of the new programme to Housing Scrutiny Committee in January 2021.

 

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 (FB).

 

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

  i.  The delivery of 10 x 1 bed flats to accommodate rough sleepers was good and was looking forward to the pods being located in East Chesterton.

  ii.  Noted the need for decent housing and queried the council’s different investments.

  iii.  Questioned what plans were going to be put in place for tenants when existing sites were redeveloped.

  iv.  Noted that some market housing may need to be built on sites to enable the development of affordable housing. Also asked whether affordable housing would be pepper potted across the development to build a mixed sustainable community.

  v.  Referred to paragraph 5.2 of the officer’s report on page 158 of the agenda which said that building zero carbon homes could add an extra 40% to build costs and noted that the cost implications of such development could mean a reduction in the number of houses which could be built.

 

The Strategic Director (FB) and the Head of Housing said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The Council had been prudent with its investments, there were different reasons for investing in the commercial sector and in housing.  Commercial investments ensured that facilities in retail were still available and could attract returns which could be used to support other council services. Investment in housing could be used to support more investment in affordable housing.

  ii.  When existing sites were considered for redevelopment a detailed options analysis would be undertaken.  This would consider the current status of the site, past and current maintenance costs, the EPC ratings and whether renovation was a better option.

  iii.  All homes would be built as sustainably as the site constraints would allow. Building mixed and balanced communities was at the forefront of officer's minds.

  iv.  Each site would be assessed on an individual basis, there may be some sites which could not support net zero carbon development.

 

The Executive Councillor commented:

  i.  That when existing sites were considered for redevelopment tenants would be consulted to ensure that they were fully involved, the council had gained valuable experience in this area over the last couple of years.

 

Councillor Martinelli proposed and Councillor McGerty seconded the following amendment to recommendation 2.1 (additional text underlined):

 

2.1  Approved the bringing forward of a development programme to provide new housing 2022-32 by the Council, on a net zero carbon basis.

 

Councillor Martinelli stated that they did not want housing development to add to the carbon footprint, the council should be a nationwide leader on this issue.  He also supported the pod housing scheme.

 

Lulu Agate commented that a lot of people worried about climate change and expensive heating bills. She knew a lot of tenants who would be in support of the amendment to recommendation 2.1.

 

The Executive Councillor commented that any proposal now to go to net zero carbon would require additional financing and could result in fewer homes being built. The increasing costs would call into question the ability of the council to be able to deliver the number of homes that they wanted to. There could be technical or geographical limits to deliver sustainable housing on a particular site.

 

Councillor Ashton queried the financial impact of the proposed amendment.

 

On a show of hands the amendment was lost by 3 votes to 5.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

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: 02/12/2020

Date of decision: 24/09/2020