Agenda item

Greater Cambridge Housing Development Agency - six month update

To consider the attached report.


The Executive Board NOTED the report.


The Executive Board considered a report which provided an update on the work of the Housing Development Agency.


Tanya Sheridan, City Deal Programme Director, presented the report and highlighted the following activities that had occurred during April to September 2016:


·         establishment of governance arrangements;

·         approval of the 2016/17 business plan;

·         recruitment to the staff team;

·         commencement with delivery of the committed programme of schemes;

·         working to secure housing grant under the proposed devolution agreement;

·         securing approval for and working to set up an investment partnership for Cambridge City Council.


Tanya Sheridan reported that 63 houses had been built as part of the programme so far, with four other sites where building work had commenced on new housing, which included affordable housing.


An updated appendix had been circulated which corrected the figures relating to Gamlingay confirming that, of the 14 dwellings, 10 dwellings were market homes and 4 dwellings were affordable homes.


Councillor Francis Burkitt was disappointed that a graph had not been included within the report to illustrate how delivery compared to the City Deal’s target of 1,000 additional homes.  He felt that this would be the best way to demonstrate progress against the target and reiterated his request for this to be included as part of future update reports.


Councillor Burkitt queried reference in the report to the County Council withdrawing some of its schemes from the Housing Development Agency.  Councillor Ian Bates provided reassurance that the County Council was still supporting the Housing Development Agency, with three schemes in the current programme as set out in the report.  It had withdrawn four of its schemes, with one also having been withdrawn early in 2016. 


Chris Malyon, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chief Finance Officer, explained that the County Council had its own housing development company and it was therefore a decision for the company as to how it procured its schemes.  He emphasised that the Council’s housing development company was different to the City Deal’s Housing Development Agency in that the company would be able to acquire land and build houses and that it would cover the whole of the county rather than specifically the Greater Cambridge area, whereas the Agency was effectively a project management company.


Mark Reeve shared Councillor Burkitt’s concerns regarding the County Council withdrawing schemes from the programme as it appeared to him that the authority was no longer prepared to use the City Deal’s Housing Development Agency.  He felt that the two entities were doing the same thing and that there was a conflict.  Mr Reeve made reference to the proposed devolution deal and the further monies it would make available to support housing in particular, stating that a joined up approach was necessary.


Councillor Herbert agreed that alignment was a key issue, but made the point that geography would also be a key consideration.


Mr Malyon reiterated that the County Council’s housing development company was different to the City Deal’s Housing Development Agency for the reasons cited above.  It would be able to utilise the Housing Development Agency for delivery of some schemes, but ultimately this would be a decision of the company’s Board.


Councillor Kevin Price, Cambridge City Councillor and Member of the Joint Assembly, made the point that all three partner Councils had housing development companies which were all doing different things, adding that each respective company may decide to use the Housing Development Agency now or at some stage in the future.


The Executive Board NOTED the report.

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