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Land cap will help young people in Cambridge get homes says mayor James Palmer


By Ben Comber


Mayor James Palmer announces his 100 day plan at Amazons Cambridge Development Centre, Poseidon House, Castle Park, Cambridge, seen here with from left sat at the table, Councillor Mark Reeve, Deputy Mayor (statutory) Robin Howe, and Mayor James Palmer, Deputy Mayor (constitutional) John Holdich, at the back are from left Councillor Charles Roberts and Councillor Peter Topping. Picture: Keith Heppell
Mayor James Palmer announces his 100 day plan at Amazons Cambridge Development Centre, Poseidon House, Castle Park, Cambridge, seen here with from left sat at the table, Councillor Mark Reeve, Deputy Mayor (statutory) Robin Howe, and Mayor James Palmer, Deputy Mayor (constitutional) John Holdich, at the back are from left Councillor Charles Roberts and Councillor Peter Topping. Picture: Keith Heppell

Mayor James Palmer is proposing a “revolution” in infrastructure delivery to solve the housing crisis and improve transport in the region.

He said young people are facing a situation that is “patently unfair”, regarding the struggle they face to get on the housing ladder or even rent a property of their own.

A land value cap would put an upper limit on the price landowners could charge for sites adjacent to infrastructure projects, such as the mayor’s proposed M11 extension to the A47.

He said many young people paying extortionate rates to live on the edge of Cambridge would jump at the chance to live in garden villages 10 miles away from Cambridge, but connected to the city by light rail.

He says the land value cap would keep money circulating rather than lining landowner’s pockets. It would also mean developers could offer homes for much cheaper, he said, and help fund improved infrastructure. It would, however, take an Act of Parliament to establish such a scheme.

Mr Palmer said: “We have a housing crisis and the younger generation is feeling it the the most. It’s very easy for people who have houses to pontificate about what we should do, but I sometimes wish the younger generation would be more vocal and say it’s not fair when people complain and say we shouldn’t build new homes.

“I bought my home after the housing crash of the late 80s. That was the luck of the draw. If I’d needed a home five years before, I would have had to pay double.

“People my age were all able to buy property, but we’ve done nothing in the meantime to make those houses go up in value ten-fold.

“We’ve got very high employment, although across a large portion of that there are fairly low wages. If a young couple had the opportunity to buy a house for £100,000 then a mortgage isn’t out of reach. At the moment they don’t have that chance. We’ve got to do something about this

“Post-Grenfell there is a realisation that the housing crisis in the UK is tangible, it’s real, and we do nothing at our peril. I am not prepared to do nothing. If it means building an M11 north to do so, that’s what we need to do. If it means building a light rail between St Neots and Haverhill that’s what we need to do.”



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