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Decision details

Cambridge City Housing Company (CCHC) Expansion

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Finance, Resources and Transformation

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

The report will present an update on feasibility work undertaken, identify next steps and make recommendations as appropriate.

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report presents the findings from a project carried out between Cambridge City Council (CCC), Cambridge City Housing Company Ltd (CCHC) and Social Finance (a not for profit organisation who seek to tackle social problems in the UK and abroad).

 

The project has explored the potential for CCHC to expand its property portfolio by up to 250 homes over a 5 year period, offering affordable homes to lower income residents, living or working in Cambridge City, in an operationally efficient, cost effective and carbon neutral manner. 

 

An initial feasibility study was carried out in the summer of 2021, with the positive findings from this early work prompting a more in depth project to be conducted. This project has however noted significant changes in the market assumptions since last summer, culminating in more cautious recommendations than initially hoped.

 

Decisions of Executive Councillor for Finance, Resources and Transformation

 

To recognise that the proposed expansion of the CCHC portfolio by 250 new homes over the next 5 years, is not financially feasible at this time, in the current market conditions.

 

To agree that CCHC keep the expansion metrics under review on a quarterly basis, reporting back to the Council, as shareholder, on an annual basis as part of the business plan update, unless a quarterly review results in a recommendation for moving forward with the expansion. If this is the case, a report will be presented to the Council for an expansion decision at the earliest opportunity.

 

To authorise officers to explore in detail the potential for equity injection of an estimated £25 million, or a contribution towards the operating costs of the business, from partner organisations employing essential workers, in return for nomination rights to the homes acquired, presenting any proposals to the Council for consideration as shareholder.

 

To agree that CCHC continues to explore expansion opportunities on a smaller scale, presenting independent funding requests for Council consideration and approval.

 

To note that the Council, following a recent decision at Housing Scrutiny Committee, can now deliver some new affordable homes to be let at 80% of market rent, subject to award of Homes England Grant, to be managed within the Housing Revenue Account.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

 

The Committee unanimously endorsed 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: 28/10/2022

Date of decision: 11/07/2022