Labour City Chiefs in Cambridge have expressed fears over the government announcement today (4 January 2016) that starter homes may replace social rented homes on large sites like Northstowe.
Responding to the press release naming Northstowe as one of five sites where the government will directly commission starter homes, the City’s Executive Councillor for Housing, Kevin Price, said: ‘Like South Cambridgeshire, our Local Plan and City Deal partners, we are committed to bringing forward high quality development sites and finding new sites for additional affordable housing. Starter homes have a role to play but must not replace social rented housing. It’s using taxpayer money as a direct subsidy and short term gain for a developer and some first buyers. It is is not the answer for most lower income families in Greater Cambridge trying to get on the housing ladder and it is not the answer for the thousands on our waiting list for social rented homes and stuck in high priced private rented homes.
The reality is that it’s already been over a year since the government said it would directly commission homes at Northstowe and so far there’s nothing to show for it. They are also responsible for Defence Estates overcharging for the land which has so far been a millstone around the neck of schemes like Northstowe.’
Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council added: ‘What Cambridge and our partnership with South Cambridgeshire needs is for the Government to adopt a New Year’s Resolution to end its systematic undermining of real affordable housing schemes for rent whether built by the city council, or at Northstowe by housing associations as partners with the national developers. Northstowe is now long overdue and will still be years to build out to completion. Today’s announcement adds nothing new to help people in housing need, and risks worsening the housing affordability crisis in Greater Cambridge.’