Seven down and one, finally, to go in delayed £100,000 Cambs homes

Mayor James Palmer and his strategic adviser Charles Roberts,

Mayor James Palmer and his housing adviser Charles Roberts who had promised a long term roll out of £100,000 homes. Incoming Mayor Dr Nik Johnson scrapped the entire scheme. - Credit: Archant

There were heralded as revolutionary and one answer to Cambridgeshire’s acute housing crisis, but one of the eight £100,000 homes created by former Mayor James Palmer at Fordham is yet to complete. 

And of the others, the most recent completion “was a couple of weeks ago”. 

East Cambridgeshire District Council says seven are now occupied “and one is going through the completion process”. 

The council took over the allocations and management of the scheme after incoming Mayor Dr Nik Johnson scrapped the flagship £100,000 homes initiative of his predecessor.  

East Cambs Council also took over the allocations and management of four £100,000 one-bedroom flats at The Old Tannery, formerly an office block known as Alexander House, Ely.  

An East Cambs Council spokesperson said: “On Alexander House we have allocated all four properties and they are going through the sales process.” 

 The Fordham homes were completed before Christmas of 2020 but conveyancing snags held back the sales.  

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In July last year, not one of the properties had been occupied.  

Dr Johnson scrapped any future £100k homes, saying he has always “struggled to understand the model”. 

Mr Palmer’s former housing adviser, ex council leader Charles Roberts, had pledged the first of the Fordham homes would have been occupied by Christmas 2020. 

However, when mayor Palmer left office in May – taking Mr Roberts with him – no call or contact with any of the lucky eight purchasers had been arranged.  

Mayor Palmer had promised expansion of the £100k homes model whereby first-time buyers could get on the housing ladder with a formula to ensure an equitable split of profits when people sell up and move.  

Labour criticised the £100K Homes policy, arguing that the need for affordable housing in the county ran into the thousands.   

Labour said that “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.”  

The Fordham flats form part of a much larger housing scheme at the Rayners Green estate. 

At a topping out ceremony in 2020, Mr Palmer said: “This is a truly momentous occasion, the birth of the first £100K homes.”