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The city needs homes not retail parks say Cambridge Liberal Democrats

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Mayoral candidate Rod Cantrill . Picture: Keith Heppell
Mayoral candidate Rod Cantrill . Picture: Keith Heppell

Lib Dems are calling for Cambridge City Council to invest some of its own money to provide more homes in the city at attractive rents.

In response to the Labour city council’s plans to invest £20 million in commercial property, such as the B&Q retail park at Haverhill, Liberal Democrats are urging a rethink to instead spend £10 million on council housing stock.

They are calling for the council instead to make investments new homes, which they say is the city’s number one need.

Under their proposals, they say two-thirds of the new housing development on the site of the Council’s Mill Road Depot site could be provided at sub-market rents.

Cllr Rod Cantrill, Lib Dem spokesperson on Finance & Resources said: “Of course the Council needs to obtain a return on its assets, but a local council should be trying harder to couple a financial return with a social return and not be acting like a property speculator. The city is crying out for new homes for rent, where possible provided at levels below today’s crippling market level.

“The Council has been successful in winning £70m from the government to build more council homes, but while welcome, this will not transform the city’s housing crisis. Housing shouldn’t only be expected to happen with government money. The Council should put some its own money where its mouth is.”

The Lib Dem plan, proposes up to 30 of the new homes on the Mill Road Depot site to be provided at 80% of market rent, supplementing the expected 84 at fully social rents. Planners expect a total of 167 homes on this site.

Lib Dem housing spokesperson Cllr Nick Avery says: “Our proposal will improve the mix of tenures on this unique site at the heart of the city. It helps to avoid polarising housing provision in Cambridge between the extremes of high market prices and what could be afforded out of welfare benefits. There are those who will never meet the criteria for purely social housing, yet still struggle to get a foothold in the city where they work, or to afford transport costs to live outside.”

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