Leader’s reminder of human cost of £100k homes fall-out 

Nik Johnson, Anna Bailey and James Palmer £100k homes fall out

Council leader Anna Bailey and former mayor James Palmer (left) at the start of the £100k homes project in Fordham. (Right) new mayor Dr Nik Johnson has other ways to tackle the housing crisis. - Credit: Archant

Council leader Anna Bailey rebuked those using social media to comment on delays to first time buyers moving into £100,000 homes at Fordham.  

Cllr Bailey was being quizzed at an East Cambs council meeting about what is happening to the buyers who should have moved in to their homes last Christmas.  

She said she wanted to “remind everyone” that the sales of the homes were to first time buyers trying to get on this property ladder. 

And she criticised “particularly those that seem to enjoy casting doubt on social media about the sales”. 

Best, she said, that “everyone would do well to remember that when taking to social media to pass comment” as these were real people moving to their first home. 

“I have every confidence that completions will go ahead,” she said. “And that proud new property owners will be taking up residence in Fordham. 

“I very much look forward to the day when the first people move in.” 

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Lib Dem Cllr Simon Harries had asked Cllr Bailey “to confirm how many sales have been completed for £100k houses in this district. 

“And please also explain the actions taken by the council to address mortgage approval issues encountered with respect to £100k homes”. 

Cllr Bailey said she was “somewhat surprised” that Cllr Harries didn’t seem to know the question would best be directed at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.  

She said the £100k homes policy initiative “is a project of the combined authority not this council.  

“Of course, we have, as a council and a constituent member of the combined authority, fully supported £100k Homes. 

“It gives our residents - typically residents that are so often shut out of the housing market completely - the opportunity to get onto the property ladder at an affordable price.” 

And there was the benefit that the discount stays with the property throughout its lifetime “allowing many more people into the future to benefit as well. 

“So East Cambs has supported the policy, but East Cambs is not the authority responsible for involvement in the sales process itself”. 

Cllr Bailey said: “To try to be helpful though, turning to the first part of the question: I am aware, that even though no one has yet moved in, buyers are progressing through the sales process.  

“To answer the second part of the question, the council has not taken any action relating to the sales process because, and I reiterate, it is not the responsibility of East Cambs District Council; this is a combined authority project.” 

She added: “I am aware though that combined authority officers are working hard to do what they can to enable the completion of sales.” 

The £100k homes policy was the brainchild of former East Cambs leader and most recently metro mayor James Palmer. 

New mayor, Dr Nik Johnson, scrapped it when he won May’s election.  

During a BBC Look East programme ahead of the poll, he said: “James Palmer claimed that he would be able to address the affordable housing crisis using his £100K homes scheme.   

“He said that he would be able to build enough homes to meet all the demand for those needing affordable housing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough using this scheme, offering homes at a guaranteed maximum of £100K per home. 

“Sound too good to be true?  Sadly, it is.  Mr Palmer has been Mayor for the past four years so what is his record in delivering these homes?   

“The answer is eight houses in Fordham in four years.  Two houses per year.   The waiting list for houses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is over two thousand families.   

At a rate of two houses per year, it would take Mr Palmer’s £100K scheme one thousand years to house these families.” 

Dr Johnson said his predecessor’s action as mayor “greatly hampered the 
building of affordable building in the Greater Cambridgeshire/ 

“And he squandered money from central government, including the Government not paying over £45 million that was due to fund 1,000 affordable homes, not eight!”