Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

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Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

Policy 13b: Affordable housing

Representation ID: 55770

Received: 05/10/2020

Respondent: Rentplus UK Ltd

Agent: Tetlow King Planning

Representation Summary:

Rentplus welcomes the commitment by the Greater Cambridge councils to prepare an Area Action Plan
for North East Cambridge. This prominent site presents an important opportunity to provide a
significant amount of new housing to meet the urgent needs of Cambridge and its immediate
surroundings.

Housing affordability is a serious concern in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. In 2019, the ONS
reported that lower quartile house prices equated to 13.51 times lower quartile earnings in
Cambridge; and an equivalent figure of
10.77 times for South Cambridgeshire. Any household on a low or middle income in the City or South
Cambridgeshire faces a serious challenge in affording a home without access to either substantial
savings or inherited wealth. The high cost of housing makes saving for any kind of deposit – even
that for a shared ownership home – very difficult for many households including those of key
workers. The implications this has for the sustainable development of Greater Cambridge are well
documented, with many households forced to look for housing further afield in
neighbouring authorities, resulting in high levels of out-commuting. The long-standing
Sustainable Development Sequence in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire has sought to direct
development to Cambridge and the edges of Cambridge in the first instance. In this context, it is
important that housing in and around Cambridge is affordable to as many people as possible. This
will ensure that people of all incomes in Greater Cambridge are able to live close to their place
of work and moreover, access the security and long-term stake in their community that homeownership
provides.

Policy 13B ‘Affordable Housing’ sets a requirement to deliver 40% affordable housing, of which 60%
is expected to be for affordable housing for rent, and the remaining 40% for ‘intermediate’
tenures. The supporting text rightly identifies rent to buy as an affordable route to home
ownership. The 2020 Housing Topic Paper explains that the 60:40 split between tenures delivers more
affordable home ownership dwellings than either the adopted Cambridge Local Plan or South
Cambridgeshire Local Plan. It also notes that this “could help to provide a wider range of housing
options beyond the more traditional shared ownership model, and also support local businesses by
improving provision of housing which is accessible to a wider range of local workers.” The Housing
Topic Paper also specifically identifies rent to buy as one of the affordable ownership models.

Rentplus therefore supports policy 13B as drafted, although would welcome recognition of the role
of affordable routes
to home ownership within the policy itself. Similarly, the policy would benefit from
additional flexibility, given the
Neutral

complex nature of the site, to vary the tenure mix to suit site circumstances and viability. We
therefore recommend that the second paragraph of policy 13b is amended as below (additions in bold,
deletions in strikethrough):



It is expected that a minimum of 60% of the affordable homes will be social/affordable rent (i.e.
housing currently set at Social and/or Affordable Rents) to provide a balanced mix appropriate to
the development but still prioritising this tenure. The remaining affordable homes will be for
affordable routes to home ownership, such as rent to buy,
shared ownership, discounted market sale and other affordable routes to home ownership.

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