A newly-announced £25 million Government fund could help speed up the building of much-needed new homes in South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge – and housing bosses across the two Councils are considering a joint bid.
Housing and Planning Minister, Alok Sharma MP, yesterday told the House of Commons that the money will be made available to ‘ambitious’ Councils via the Planning Delivery Fund.
Mr Sharma announced that the Fund is now open for bids, and will “support ambitious local authorities in areas of high housing need to plan for new homes and infrastructure”.
£11-million will initially be made available, to help Councils deliver high quality, well designed homes.
According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, Councils will be able to apply for a share of that fund to help gain the skills or capacity they need to deliver quality housing growth at scale and pace.
Housing chiefs at South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils say they will now look at the funding arrangement in further detail and investigate the possibility of a joint bid between the two authorities.
Cllr Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We’re already working hard to deliver new homes and new communities across South Cambridgeshire, so will be looking very closely at whether this announcement will allow us to speed up that process.
“We know it’s really important that future generations have the chance of getting on the housing ladder in the area that they’ve grown up in.
“Also, tens of thousands of new jobs are likely to be created in South Cambridgeshire in the medium term, so having the new homes where the people taking those jobs can live is vital.
“It’s very pleasing to see that this scheme encourages more innovation in the design quality of new housing developments. We want a high bar when it comes to the standard of new communities that are being built in our area.”
“This is potentially very positive news and we look forward to working with Cambridge City Council to draw-up a joint bid for a share of this fund.”
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “Cambridge is determined to continue our excellent teamwork with South Cambridgeshire and attempt to win our share of this new Government joint planning and quality development funding pot.
“As with other cities and adjacent more rural communities, our major opportunities and challenges are the same as our friends and neighbours, and this finance would help us both deliver high quality major developments, develop plans for sufficient housing to match recent jobs growth, and protect what is most precious about both our historic city and our rural environment.”