£4.8m loan to transform office block into flats repaid

Alexander House, Ely, successfully transformed into luxury flats

Alexander House, Ely, successfully transformed into luxury flats - Credit: CAPCA

A £4.84 million loan given to a developer to convert a former office block into luxury flats has now been repaid. 

The loan, given to Laragh Homes by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA), has helped redevelop Alexander House in Ely. 

Four of the 25 flats at what is now renamed The Old Tannery in Forehill have also been designated as affordable homes particularly for those that live and work in the area. 

Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “It is wonderful to see another housing project completed and to see a previously under-utilised space transformed into new homes.  

“The addition of four affordable units – despite there being no planning obligation to do so – is extremely welcome and will allow yet more members of our community to put down roots in the places that matter to them.” 

CAPCA say the loan to Laragh Homes to redevelop The Old Tannery aimed to “sustainably support housing schemes that would otherwise not have progressed due to a lack of funding”. 

Last year, former mayor James Palmer won agreement from CAPCA to loan Laragh Homes £4.5m to turn the office block into flats. 

Hannah Greenhow, director of Laragh Homes, said the loan helped the developer to bring work on The Old Tannery forward.  

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“The development finance we received from CAPCA was much appreciated and enabled us to bring forward the stunning redevelopment of what was an unsightly commercial building,” she said. 

“The scheme is now a beautifully designed development of 25 apartments offering both affordable and private housing in a sustainable location central to the heart of this city.” 

Ms Greenhow added: “Being able to regenerate this part of the city and provide much required housing to our region helps to establish our vision to work closely with communities and local authorities across the area.” 

Alexander House in Forehill was converted from a former office block where tenants once included SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer and the Ely Standard.   

The deal to convert Alexander House was criticised by Cllr Lewis Herbert, former leader of Labour-controlled Cambridge City Council. 

He said: "The 'affordable' housing loan to Laragh is an abuse of CAPCA's affordable housing monies."