Deadlock broken as £18.7m back in the pot to boost affordable housing
- Credit: Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament (
Eighteen threatened affordable housing schemes have been saved after the Government agreed to restore nearly £19m to deliver1,188 homes.
Local government minister Luke Hall stalled payment after telling former mayor James Palmer, he wasn’t confident the money allocated to date had been properly spent.
But new mayor Dr Nik Johnson says Mr Hall has confirmed £18,704,717 has been approved.
It means affordable homes across the area – including nearly 130 in March, 64 at Ramsey and 16 in Wicken – can go ahead.
Up to 200 will be built in Peterborough.
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Mayor Johnson said: “Unlocking of this money is confirmation that we are heading in the right direction”.
The mayor also unveiled a set of principles that he says will define affordable housing going forward.
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“The central target needs to be to help those least able to afford housing,” he says.
This will include “a renewed focus on schemes for affordable rent delivery”.
In 2017, the Combined Authority obtained the first tranches of £100m as part of the Devolution Deal.
It put affordable housing at the core of its funding.
The Combined Authority says it will continue to target a wide variety of affordable housing types “where initiatives and the leverage of funding merit intervention and use of scarce resources.
“However, affordability including affordable rent homes for those on lowest incomes relative to housing costs will be the top priority.
Mayor Johnson’s list of housing principles also include working to “assist people who are unintentionally homeless”.
He wants to help get rough sleepers off the street and this could include expanding modular housing.
Modular housing could also be used for single people.
Mayor Johnson also wants help for key worker housing and to create “opportunities for employers with land to directly assist their staff”.
Community Land Trusts (CLT), popular in East Cambridgeshire, are grouped with housing co-operatives, self-build, and rural exception in helping to provide more housing.
He says existing CLT projects and commitments by the Combined Authority “will be reassessed against a new set of principles” to be developed and debated”.
A priority will also be to address climate change, net zero carbon, and biodiversity in all new Combined Authority-funded housing.