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Could a flat-pack factory solve Cambridgeshire's housing crisis?

Flat-pack homes' could be constructed off-site in a factory to accelerate housing growth.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have a target of building 100,000 new properties, including 40,000 affordable homes, over the next 20 years, which the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority admits is “unlikely to be achieved by reliance on existing approaches alone”.

As a result, the authority commissioned a £25,000 feasibility study to consider the commercial opportunities that might exist in direct off-site modular housing manufacture.

The report, by sector experts DLS Strategic Ltd, highlighted several factors to support setting up a facility, including the potential to create up to 200 new jobs.

It also said the move could provide the opportunity for the Combined Authority to create a new high-quality housing brand and the chance for profit if the factory manufactures and sells more than 300 houses each year.

However, the report acknowledges that there would be “significant costs” associated with setting up such a factory and the Combined Authority could be left footing the bill if the development of 300 homes from the outset could not be guaranteed.

A meeting is being held today (Wednesday) to discuss the plans and follows news that an alliance of 15 housing associations will work with the Combined Authority to deliver up to 40,000 affordable homes over 20 years.

In March 2017, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough negotiated a devolution deal to give them greater powers to run their area.

It was the first devolved authority to be allocated a specific housing grant worth £170million.

This unique collaboration between the housing alliance, called Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and the Combined Authority will use part of this grant to build housing of mixed tenure, including affordable rents. This will ensure homes are suitable for people on a range of incomes.

Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough collectively owns and manages 48,277 homes in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area.

As part of this new deal, it will match every £1 of the Combined Authority’s investment with up to £6 of its own.

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