With the Chartered Institute of Housing and National Housing Federation both calling for more than 1.5 million social homes to be built over the next 10 years, with at least 90,000 of these for social rent each year, one joint venture is already delivering new council homes — the Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP).
Cambridge Investment Partnership was established in January 2017. The joint venture between Cambridge City Council and Hill Investment Partnerships was set up in a bid to tackle the affordable housing shortage across the city by investing and transforming council-owned and other land across the city, bringing together the best of public and private sector expertise to provide homes that are fit for the future.
Having already started on site at 10 locations across the city, CIP is anticipating being on site and building in excess of its committed target of 500 new council rented homes by March 2022. CIP is developing a mixed portfolio of sites ranging from two units in a garden infill or garage site, making use of under-used parcels of City Council land, through to large-scale residential brownfield development, which is providing a mix of market and affordable housing, including 295 at Cromwell Road.
Claire Flowers, Head of Housing Development Agency for Cambridge City Council and CIP Investment Team member said: “Through this partnership, it has enabled the Council to accelerate its plans to build more affordable housing. As well as building new council homes we are also replacing poor quality homes with new highly sustainable homes and providing a mix of market sale properties which will be fully integrated into the neighbourhoods.
“We already have planning permission for 700 new homes across 11 sites which includes 354 new council homes which means we are 71% towards our target of 500. In addition, the partnership has identified the potential for a further 1,000 new homes which will include at least 400 new council rented homes and we are expecting be on site and reach our target 18 months earlier than originally planned.”
Community is also at the forefront for CIP and on every development, the partnership will carefully consider community and commercial amenities, such as community centres and green space, along with job and training opportunities to ensure residents lifestyles are enhanced. CIP is committed to creating vibrant communities for existing and new residents that will support the local economy for the future.
Anstey Way, Trumpington
Work is almost complete at CIP’s first site in Anstey Way, which will deliver a 100% affordable housing project. 56 new council rented apartments are being built to replace the aging council homes, which had previously been on the site and also provide new homes for vulnerable elderly tenants.
The homes will include energy saving features such as thicker walls and denser insulation to reduce heat loss and energy bills, photovoltaic panels to generate electricity to light the communal areas and potentially subsidise the electric vehicle charging points. £125,000 will be allotted to local play areas, parks and sports centre and CIP has allocated £35,000 towards two public art commissions.
The partnership has enabled this development to start and it is now ahead of its build programme and had already created savings on its work packages. This site will mark the first council homes to be completed by the partnership as part of the 500 council home programme.
Ironworks, former Mill Road depot
At the former Mill Road depot, CIP is building 236 new studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and two-, three- and four-bedroom houses, half of which are available to buy and half to rent. Known as Ironworks, the scheme has been designed to reflect the industrial character of the area by combining bold and contemporary design to create a distinctive collection of homes, in keeping with the aesthetics of the area.
As part of the project, a new highly sustainable community centre will be built, as well a new on-site neighbourhood park, Eagle Park, which will feature a large play area, rainwater gardens and green open spaces. An extensive public art programme is also a key feature of Ironworks with £200,000 allocated towards four commissions. An additional £3.3m contribution will also be given towards local schools, parks, sports centres, NHS, Chisholm trail and open space adoption.
Sustainability is a high priority on all CIP projects and Ironworks includes high fabric performance, mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR), photovoltaic solar panels, the rainwater gardens, swales, new habitat creation and green roofs.
Work is expected to start on site shortly at CIP’s Cromwell Road project in the heart of the city. This is CIP’s largest scheme in its pipeline and will deliver 295 new homes, of which 118 will be new council rented homes.
The former Ridgeons site will also include a community facility, nursery, open spaces, play equipment, parking for cars and bicycle parking including a basement car park and electric vehicle charging spaces for every house and 10% of the communal area.
All of the council rented homes will be wheelchair accessible, with six of the units specially adapted for wheelchair users. Three of the homes will also be designated as ‘Housing First’ homes for people who had previously been vulnerably housed or homeless.
The new homes will be built in line with the Cambridge Sustainable Housing Design Guide which exceeds national policy guidelines and will incorporate a number of sustainable features including green roofs on apartment blocks, photovoltaic panels on roofs of houses and apartments, sustainable urban drainage system incorporated into the landscape and denser insulation and wall thickness to minimise heat loss and reduce energy bills.
CIP has committed £250,000 towards three public art commissions as well as £3.2m towards local schools, parks, sport centres, the Chisholm trail, NHS and open space adoption.
The header image is an artist impression of the Cromwell Road scheme in Cambridge, which will deliver 295 new homes.