A fresh start for housing our city

Affordability and sustainability will be the drivers of our mission in housing.

 

Within the council’s powers we will seek full-life net zero carbon standards in new buildings. Where not yet within our powers, we will ensure strong unequivocal city council leadership in achieving that standard where the council itself is the developer; and we will promote that standard to other developers by publicly recognising their ambition and sharing best practice with others.

 

We will minimise impacts on natural resources, in particular water. We will seek high standards of water self-sufficiency and sustainable drainage in development. Additional housing numbers, which despite this, threaten environmental damage through exhaustion of chalk aquifers, will not be supported unless alternative sources of supply are provided.

 

We also aim for Cambridge to be a socially sustainable city, not only catering for the rich and poor but others who struggle in the market. In particular we will fight the corner for key worker housing, enabling those, who through their work, make up our city’s fabric, to live here too.

 

In increasing housing supply we will:

 

  • Maintain the established concept of a compact city with green fingers, complemented by more woodland and the proposed biodiversity recovery network – and focus on planning the remaining major sustainable brownfield sites at North East Cambridge and Marshall’s Airport;
  • Demand a minimum of 40% affordable homes within new development, providing a diversity of tenures, including a continued expansion social housing;
  • Ensure the needs of community wellbeing are met early in new developments, including generous open space and other social and service infrastructure;
  • Commit to develop sheltered housing as part of the overall council building programme, recognising the likely expansion needed in provision of social care;
  • Bring forward a bold programme of new homes at intermediate rent, prioritised for key workers, including at strategic sites like Queen Anne Terrace car park;
  • Enable in-fill development only where it respects positive neighbourhood characteristics and the amenity of residents;
  • Crack down on empty homes and control the re-purposing of existing homes to AirBnB;
  • Promote a developer culture where design competitions and charrettes are employed in order to increase involvement and stimulate design quality;
  • Ensure that the option of developing a Neighbourhood Plan is clearly available to residents within the city and it is supported as it is in non-urban communities.

 

To improve housing standards we will:

 

  • Set the lead in retrofitting existing city council homes and, with all means available to the council, and encourage it in privately owned homes;
  • Improve standards in the private rented sector by reviewing the council’s decision to scrap its landlord accreditation scheme and by pioneering purpose-built private rented housing on three year leases in new developments.