Eastfield: Regenerating the past
A new housing development with a difference in Chesterton
Iceni Homes and housing developer Lovell recently started construction work on a major new regeneration project in Cambridge. But this one is different as it is for a charitable housing association.
The Hundred Houses Society’s £6.75 million flagship project is currently under way at Eastfield in Chesterton.
In partnership with Iceni Homes and Lovell, Hundred Houses is replacing 26 properties with 50 energy-efficient – and this is where it is different – affordable homes. The mix will be 35 homes to rent and 15 shared ownership homes.
The Eastfield neighbourhood was the first ever neighbourhood developed by Hundred Houses Society, in 1935, and is due a major regeneration. The new properites are designed with high levels of insulation and super-efficient boilers, windows and doors.
The original site comprised only three-bedroom homes with large gardens, whereas the new development will have more variety – from one-bedroom apartments to three-bedroom houses – and will include two-bedroom bungalows, one of which is fully wheelchair accessible.
The site has shared green space for community use, rain gardens for surface water run-off, off-street parking, integrated cycle paths and integrated cycle and bin storage.
Mary Gibbons, chief executive officer of Hundred Houses Society, said: “We are pleased to be able to regenerate this neighbourhood in a way which reflects the needs of the customers both now and in the future. This is an exciting development which delivers more truly affordable homes for Cambridge.”
Lovell regional director Simon Medler added: “This important regeneration project will create much-needed, brand new, affordable properties built to modern standards with a strong focus on energy efficiency. Our team is extremely pleased to be bringing its expertise in delivering high-quality homes to this major scheme in partnership with Hundred Houses Society and Iceni Homes.”
The housing teams at Hundred Houses Society have been working closely with local residents to keep them updated about plans for the site and have helped them move into alternative accommodation while the building work takes place. Many will be moving back into new homes.
While regeneration of Eastfield has been partly funded by the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the homes will continue to be managed by Hundred Houses Society.
HCA director Terry Fuller said: “The HCA is really pleased to be helping to bring this important local site back into use to provide new homes and help local people in Cambridge have access to a home of their own.”
The scheme will be finished by March 2018, with the first phase set to be ready by June of next year.
At the ground-breaking event last Wednesday (October 26), Cllr Kevin Price, Cambrdge City Council’s executive councillor for housing, said: “This will offer much-needed affordable housing for Cambridge and help those on lower incomes. I’m very pleased to be here and welcome this development.
“The Hundred Houses site has been here a long time and this is the first time the group has built houses. It’s always exciting to see the old stuff come down and new, better homes being built. More homes for people is what drives us.”
He added: “I keep saying this at any opportunity I get: Cambridge has an affordability crisis. Anybody who looks around the outskirts of Cambridge or comes in on the train or motorway can’t see for cranes. There is house-building going on all around, but not a great deal of that is genuinely affordable, so these are for people on low to middle incomes.”
Asked if this type of development is becoming more popular, the councillor replied: “At the moment they’re fairly few and far between. I think Hundred Houses have got plans for beyond this, in terms of regeneration, and it’s reusing areas and using the space better. We’re landlocked – there’s a limit to what we can build in this city. The city council started with some regeneration schemes in Water Lane and we would envisage doing some more too.”
The council is also looking to add more homes to its stock.
“The only alternatives are building more council houses,” said Cllr Price. “We have negotiated a deal with Government through a devolution project that’s coming to us to make decisions on next month, where as a council we’ve negotiated £70 million to build council houses and only council houses – ring-fenced money for the city, to be spent through its housing revenue account.”