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200 new homes including at least 90 council homes for former Ridgeons site in Cambridge

By Josh Thomas | Local Democracy Reporter

Cromwell Road plans include more than 200 new homes, with 90 council homes among them
Cromwell Road plans include more than 200 new homes, with 90 council homes among them

Cambridge City Council will deliver the housing with some of the £70m funding from devolution deal

Cllr Kevin Price. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Kevin Price. Picture: Keith Heppell

More than 200 new homes are on their way to Cambridge, with at least 90 council homes aimed at helping people struggling with the city’s high housing costs.

They will be built on the 3.3-hectare site formerly occupied by builder’s wholesalers Ridgeons in Cromwell Road.

Labour-run Cambridge City Council revealed on Wednesday (July 4) that it has bought the site, and plans to deliver the housing with some of the £70million funding secured in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution deal.

Cllr Anna Smith said: “As a Romsey ward councillor I am delighted by this news and the delivery of more new council homes which are badly needed in the city.

Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell

“And local residents can also be confident the site will be sensitively redeveloped for residential use to high standards by the city council, which will retain a long term interest in an important area.”

Cllr Tim Bick, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cambridge City Council, welcomed the move, but asked whether an opportunity had been missed to provide even more homes.

He said: “It’s certainly good to see the council securing a location for some of the 500 council homes that it has government money to build.

“But the disappointment here is that this site on Cromwell Road would have been developed for new homes with or without the council’s involvement and 40 per cent of them would have needed to be affordable anyway.

“It is a gain that the affordable homes will be council homes, but we think it’s a pity that this investment is not going to bring extra housing overall into play.

“For example we think they should have channelled their funds into using their own Park Street car park redevelopment for housing rather than another hotel.

“The net gain for Cambridge of this very large investment of public money is frankly not as great as it could have been.”

Cllr Kevin Price, executive councillor for housing at Cambridge City Council, said the new development would provide housing for people in the city who were struggling with high housing costs.

“This is housing for the people of Cambridge who cannot afford the private rental sector,” he said, adding that the site could provide more than 200 new homes, with at least 40 per cent of those guaranteed to be council housing.

Had the site been developed privately, there may have been an imperative for the houses to be “affordable”, but this might still not have been genuinely affordable for the people who needed them most, he pointed out.

He also addressed fears the new development would add to traffic problems in the area, saying there was already a lot of traffic coming and going from the Ridgeons depot, and that the new homes would not significantly add to that.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of the council, said: “Building more council housing for the many Cambridge people in housing need remains one of our top citywide priorities.

“The purchase of this site provides us with the opportunity to build a large number of much-needed, high quality new council homes, that will give Cambridge families and individuals the homes and stability they deserve.

The purchase also enables the council to invest in housing development on a key city site.”

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