An initiative to provide local affordable homes for local people in South Cambridgeshire is celebrating its first major milestone – and it is hoped it will be the forerunner to other similar schemes elsewhere in the district.
Affordable homes success could pave way for more schemes in other South Cambs villages
Great Shelford Parochial Charities plans to start work on 21 almshouses on More’s Meadow at the end of the year after the District Council’s Planning Committee approved its scheme last month.
Charging rents of no more than half the market rate, the charity will provide one, two or three-bedroom homes with low running costs for people who would otherwise be unable to afford a home in the village.
To help get this off the ground, South Cambridgeshire District Council supported Great Shelford Parochial Charities with a grant through its community-led development initiative. The money was used to help with setting up a new website, funding pre-development surveys and sharing planning expertise.
Meanwhile, through similar grants, three Community Land Trusts (CLTs) at Cottenham, Waterbeach, and Histon and Impington, were given funding to help them set up. These groups are now working on plans to address affordable housing needs in their respective areas.
CLTs are comprised of representatives with local knowledge and expertise, such as architects, accountants and solicitors, and form part of a wider National Community Land Trust Network. They can bid for funding from a variety of sources, including government, once they have an affordable homes proposal in place.
The District Council has contributed £20,000 to help set up and guide the three CLTs and to support the long-established Great Shelford Parochial Charities in the early stages of their almshouses project.
Brian Connellan, Great Shelford Parochial Charities Deputy Chair, said the Council’s support had been extremely important in enabling the charity to press ahead with its More’s Meadow plans.
As the charity retains ownership of the properties, including 32 nearby almshouses already in use, it was in a strong position to be able to raise funds for its next development and was in advanced talks with a lender, he said.
With a proven need for almost 100 affordable homes in Gt Shelford, he added: “We are determined to help those who have strong links to the village to live here. The More’s Meadow development will be a high-quality build, one that will last for generations to come and will benefit many in our community over many years.”
Cllr Hazel Smith, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, said the authority was pleased to support both the charity and the three trusts in developing their aims and proposals to provide high-quality affordable homes that would benefit local communities for generations to come.
“It’s about empowering local people to meet the housing needs of people in their own community and by doing so ensuring that their villages prosper, and young families and older people can remain in their village near their support networks,” she said.
“Helping people to live in the village with which they have a strong connection is what these projects are about, and we are delighted to play our part in that.”
South Cambridgeshire is the second largest district in Cambridgeshire.