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Independent advisers recommend three options for future of Ekin Road in Cambridge

Full redevelopment of the Ekin Road housing estate in Cambridge remains on the table despite calls to pause the proposals.

Independent advisers have recommended that Cambridge City Council takes forward three options for the future of the estate.

These include the partial redevelopment of the site, with 20 houses to the south and east retained, and full redevelopment of the site.

Future of Ekin Road..
Future of Ekin Road..

The third option is to retain the existing buildings and undertake essential repairs and retrofitting.

Cllr Gerri Bird, executive councillor for housing and homelessness, said: “We’re committed to addressing the shortage of affordable housing across the city – which in large part can only be addressed by building more homes – as well as working to improve the quality of ageing council homes.

“One way we can do this is by looking at areas where we have lots of ageing council homes, and weighing up whether the best thing to do in residents’ interests is to refurbish or retrofit these properties, or to redevelop some or all of the buildings altogether, to enable more sustainable homes to be built.

“We know the prospect of having to move out is difficult for people to live with for too long, so I’m really pleased that progress is being made for residents at Ekin Road. We hope to be able to have more discussions with residents in the future, as the project team works to refine a preferred option for the site, which will then provide more certainty to tenants and homeowners.”

A petition has been launched by a group of residents, who are calling for the council to “revise its approach” and “properly assess the impact of the current proposal options on the wellbeing of its current residents”.

The petition, which has been signed by 35 residents, states: “After two very difficult years of Covid lockdowns and restrictions, and now a significant cost-of-living crisis, many residents of the Ekin Road estate are already suffering immensely.

“The council must understand this suffering, and whether any of the proposals for the estate will further damage the wellbeing of residents, before proceeding with any other development investigation.”

The estate in Abbey currently has more than 120 homes, including flats, bungalows, maisonettes and houses, some of which are council-owned. Many of the homes have ongoing maintenance issues and do not meet current standards for sustainability and accessibility.

An initial seven options were put forward ranging from minimal change or minor refurbishment projects through to redevelopment of some properties, or full redevelopment of the entire site.

In June, the council appointed Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as third-party advisers to assess the potential options. JLL advised on the best approach for the future of Ekin Road, taking into account the potential economic, social, environmental, financial and strategic benefits of the different options.

The recommendation to continue with three of the original options will be discussed at the council’s housing scrutiny committee on September 19. If approved, work will then be undertaken to further refine these three options. A decision on a preferred option will then be made in 2024.

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