Community group to give evidence to CLT housing inquiry 

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer leading CAPCA housing review

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer leading CAPCA housing review - Credit: Archant

A community group will be invited to give evidence to a review by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA).  

‘Save Wilburton from Over Development’ is among those invited to help with a review of the CAPCA’s housing programme.  

It will be led by Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer and a ‘scoping’ document was agreed by the CAPCA overview and scrutiny committee on July 25. 

A report to the committee said that in addition to the concerns about CAPCA’s governance arrangements that have recently been raised, there were a number of “specific” issues to consider from the past.  

These, the committee was told, include ministerial letters sent to the combined authority “and these have not been fully scrutinised”. 

Key lines of inquiry were set out and these include: 

1: The process for establishing the partnership with Laragh Homes and the contractual arrangements put in place 

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2: The decision to establish a loan fund with part of the housing funding, including communications with central government. 

3: The governance of loans to East Cambridgeshire District Council, East Cambs Trading Company and Laragh Homes.  

4: In particular the decision to approve a loan after the start of the Covid pandemic. 

5: The governance around the decision to support community land trusts.  

6: The issuing of a statement of community benefit in relation to the Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust.  

The committee was told that evidence needed includes correspondence between CAPCA and the government and correspondence between officers.  

And the committee will want to see all procurement and contract documents.  

Witnesses will also include Cllr Lewis Herbert, a former leader of Cambridge City Council, and now lead member for housing at CAPCA and its deputy mayor.  

CAPCA housing chief Roger Thompson and other relevant officers will be asked to give evidence.  

And Laragh Homes and Stretham and Wilburton CLT will be invited.  

Earlier this year save Wilburton from Over Development released a copy of letter it had sent to the minister for housing, Lucy Frazer MP, Mayor Dr Nik Johnson and Cllr Lucy Nethsingha.  

The group said they have become “extremely concerned” about the proliferation of community land trusts not only in their own village but across east Cambridgeshire."

Their spokesperson said: "We are a community group which is expressly opposed to an unnecessary and unwanted development driven from the start by a commercial developer, but dressed up under the CLT badge.
"We are not against CLT development. On the contrary, we are in favour of CLT development which has followed due process with the community deciding on even the basics such as the size and the location of any development proposal."