9. Housing

What you told us previously

We asked you whether the plan should seek a balanced mix of dwellings, and whether there were any particular types of housing that should be included in the area. You told us we should deliver a mix of dwelling sizes, types and tenures, and put forward a range of ideas on the types of housing that should be delivered.

We asked you whether Cambridge Local Plan affordable housing requirements should apply across the AAP area. You mainly supported this approach, although it was noted that viability should be a consideration given the nature of the site.

We asked you about Private Rented Sector (PRS) housing, and whether the AAP should include guidance. Some said detailed guidance was not required, and the market should be allowed to deliver. Others expressed concern if it would result in properties being left empty.

We asked you about student housing, whether the site should exclude student housing, set a limit, allow it if justified, or make specific provision. Mixed opinions were expressed, with some arguing it was too far from the educational institutions, others said if there was demand it should be accommodated, and the plan should be flexible.

9.1 NEC provides an opportunity to make a significant contribution to meeting the future housing needs of the Greater Cambridge area.

9.2 Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire are currently preparing a Housing Strategy for the two districts. This will help to inform the drafting of the AAP, but there are many issues that we will need to consider regarding the form of housing development that should be sought in NEC.

Housing mix

9.3 Given the number of new homes that could be delivered in the area, it is proposed that the AAP seeks a wide range of housing types and tenures. This would include a variety of affordable housing tenures, such as social housing for rent and other affordable routes to home ownership, purpose built private rented sector housing (PRS) and open market housing, including custom and self-build. There is also an opportunity to plan and deliver a range of housing products aimed at specific groups, for example essential local workers, as well as housing tethered to employers within the area.

9.4 Households have varying needs regarding a 'home' and requirements can often change over time. Therefore, a wide choice of housing sizes and tenures broadens the appeal of an area to new residents and creates more sustainable communities. However, the provision of family sized housing also generates a need for more community facilities. It can also be a challenge to secure appropriate levels of well-designed family accommodation as part of higher-density development if this is not carefully planned and located from the outset.

Issue: Housing Mix

(18) Question 38: Should the AAP require a mix of dwelling sizes and in particular, some family sized housing?

(12) Question 39: Should the AAP seek provision for housing for essential local workers and/or specific housing provided by employers (i.e. tethered accommodation outside of any affordable housing contribution)?

Affordable housing

9.5 There are around 4,500 applicants on the social housing register across the two districts. Affordability analysis referenced above suggests that 35% of existing households across Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire are on lower incomes of less than £30,000, and 26% have middle incomes between £30,000 - £50,000. Social housing for rent is particularly important for supporting lower income households, and other affordable tenures can support those on middle incomes.

9.6 Both Councils' Local Plans include a requirement for 40% of housing to be affordable on larger development schemes, subject to viability. It is proposed to maintain this approach in North East Cambridge.

Issue: Affordable Housing

(22) Question 40: Should the AAP require 40% of housing to be affordable, including a mix of affordable housing tenures, subject to viability?

(11) Question 41: Should an element of the affordable housing provision be targeted at essential local workers?

Custom and Self Build Housing

9.7 Custom and self build housing is housing built or commissioned by individuals (or groups of individuals) for their own occupation. This can help local residents develop their own lower cost market housing, support the local economy by providing work for local builders and tradesmen, increase the diversity of housing supply, and facilitate innovative designs.

9.8 The vision for North East Cambridge does not lend itself to provision of self build plots, but there may still be opportunities to support custom build. There are national and international examples[6] where developers deliver the shell of a building, and then private individuals can finish the building and interior as they wish. The AAP could require a proportion of dwellings to be made available for this type of development.

Issue: Custom Build Housing

(6) Question 42: Should the AAP require a proportion of development to provide custom build opportunities?

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

9.9 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are flats or houses permanently occupied by more than one household, where each household does not have exclusive access to all cooking, washing and toilet facilities behind a locked front door.

9.10 HMOs contribute to the overall supply of housing and have an important role in helping to meet an area's housing need for lower cost housing especially for young people and those new to Cambridge. A proportion of the new housing in the area could take the form of purpose-built HMOs. However, they can also adversely impact the amenity of neighbouring properties, especially if clustered, and need appropriate management arrangements to be in place.

Issue: Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

(5) Question 43: Should the AAP allow a proportion of purpose built HMOs and include policy controls on the clustering of HMOs?

Private Rented Sector (PRS) housing

9.11 Central government has introduced reforms to the National Planning Policy Framework to speed up delivery of new homes. One of these changes has been to introduce 'Build to Rent' as a tenure option, which can form part of a wider multi tenure development. Homes in such developments are typically 100% rented. Schemes will usually offer longer tenancy agreements of three years or more, and will typically be professionally managed with a single ownership and management control of all the homes on a site. We need to consider to what extent is there a role for PRS in the North East Cambridge area.

Issue: Private Rented Sector (PRS) Housing

(8) Question 44: Should the AAP include PRS as a potential housing option as part of a wider housing mix across the North East Cambridge area?

(3) Question 45: if PRS is to be supported, what specific policy requirements should we consider putting in place to manage its provision and to ensure it contributes towards creating a mixed and sustainable community?

(3) Question 46: Should PRS provide an affordable housing contribution?

(2) Question 47: What 'clawback' mechanisms should be included to secure the value of the affordable housing to meet local needs if the homes are converted to another tenure?

(2) Question 48: What would be a suitable period to require the retention of private rented homes in that tenure and what compensation mechanisms are needed if such homes are sold into a different tenure before the end of the period?

(3) Question 49: What type of management strategy is necessary to ensure high standards of ongoing management of PRS premises is achieved?

Specialist Housing

9.12 The NEC AAP will need to consider whether there are any other forms of specialist forms of housing provision that should be made in NEC, as required by the NPPF, having regard to the Greater Cambridge Housing Strategy and to evidence of need. This could include for older people, students, and travellers

9.13 The Cambridge Local Plan states that there is no identified need for further student accommodation provision before 2026. As such, the Councils are not proposing to identify specific provision for student housing in NEC, rather any proposals would need to be considered on their merits.

9.14 The Joint Local Plan Review that the Councils will be starting in 2019 will review the accommodation needs of travellers, including those who no longer travel. The current South Cambridgeshire Local Plan refers to seeking opportunities to deliver new traveller sites through major developments. However, Gypsy and Traveller provision is unlikely to represent the best use of land within NEC, especially in context of delivering higher densities and optimising the development potential of the area.

Issue: Other forms of specialist housing, including for older people, students & travellers

(13) Question 50: Should the area provide for other forms of specialist housing, either on-site or through seeking contributions for off-site provision?

Quality and Accessibility

9.15 Both Councils' Local Plans apply the national internal residential space standards. These set minimum sizes in terms of floorspace, and for the size of key rooms. It is important that high quality new homes are delivered, and there is public health evidence of the need for space standards. It is proposed to maintain this approach in North East Cambridge.

9.16 The Cambridge Local Plan also sets external residential space standards. This requires all new residential units to have direct access to an area of private amenity space. The form of amenity space will be dependent on the form of housing and could include a private garden, roof garden, balcony, glazed winter garden or ground-level patio with defensible space from any shared amenity areas.

9.17 The Local Plans set different standards regarding the minimum portion of new homes that have to meet the standards on accessibility introduced by the Government through Part M of Building Regulations in 2015. The Cambridge Local Plan sets a higher standard than the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan, requiring the design of all new homes to be delivered as 'accessible and adaptable dwellings' (Building Regulation M4(2)) and 5% of new housing as 'wheelchair user dwellings' (Building Regulation M4(3)) across all tenures. It is proposed that this approach is applied to NEC.

Issue: Quality and Accessibility of Housing

(8) Question 51: Should the AAP apply the national internal residential space standards?

(4) Question 52: Should the AAP develop space standards for new purpose built HMOs?

(8) Question 53: Should the AAP apply External Space Standards, and expect all dwellings to have direct access to an area of private amenity space?

(5) Question 54: Should the AAP apply the Cambridge Local Plan accessibility standards?

Supporting Study



Retail Study

A Cambridge Retail and Leisure Study was completed in 2013. A new Retail Needs Assessment will be commissioned to inform the Joint Local Plan Review.

To be completed

North East Cambridge Community Facilities Audit

A detailed assessment of existing facilities and support to inform service delivery and infrastructure provision.

To be completed

North East Cambridge Infrastructure Delivery Plan

A broad assessment of the social and physical infrastructure needed to support the planned development and regeneration of NEC and how these requirements could be met.

To be completed

Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Playing Pitch Strategy

Prepared in consultation with Sport England to guide future provision and management of sports pitches to serve existing and new communities in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.


Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Indoor Facilities Strategy

Prepared in consultation with Sport England to guide future provision and management of built facilities and community use services to serve existing and new communities in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.


Cambridgeshire County Council Supporting New Communities Strategy

Sets out how the County Council supports people moving into new communities across the county. The focus of this strategy is how we will work to ensure new communities have a network of people-centred support.


Cambridgeshire New Developments & Built Environment Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2015/16

Produced by Cambridgeshire County Council, considers the relationship between planning and health and well being of new communities, and includes a number of recommendations


[6] The National Custom and Self Build Association provide a series of case studies on their website: http://righttobuildtoolkit.org.uk/case-studies/#

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