Latest updates 9th October 2019
On this page we will be detailing the progress of the proposed development as it progresses through the design and consultation phases. Currently we have simply added the first draft of the site layout presented at the meeting, high level questions and answers covering many of the topics raised and finally, some analysis of the feedback from the consultation.
More information will be added as the scheme progresses, so check out the last date updated at the top of the page.
Haddenham CLT West End Proposals - Questions & Answers (last updated 20th December 2016)
Q. Why have you chosen the West End Site?
A. HCLT put out a call for land and has received offers for two sites. These have been carefully evaluated by the Trustees and it was decided to push forward on the West End Site as its first scheme. Yes, there are other better sites in the village, but the HCLT financial model requires land to be offered by benevolent land owners who want to help the village and are willing to offer the land at considerably less than normal development rates. The fact that the land is on the edge of the development envelope also helps as CLTs have more flexible rules on development. Other landowners approached have preferred to hold on and sell their land to the highest bidders, which is their prerogative. This will maximise profits for them and the developers by increasing density of development which is largely outside the control of the Parish. The more Community Led Development we have, the less likely it is for this to happen, which is why we need support from you for this project and any that follow.
We believe this is a good site for a number of reasons:
The initial survey work shows there are few physical restraints to hinder development
It is reasonably close to the village centre
Safe access can be provided to the A1123 satisfying County Council Highways Dept criteria
The size means there can be generous green spaces, good sized gardens and safe parking
No public footpaths crossing it and it is not in a flood plain
Although local residents are always affected by new developments, we believe this can be minimised through use of the generous site, use of the topography and by including bungalows
Q. Why are there only 16 affordable homes?
A. The initial housing needs study indicated that there was a need for up 15 houses specifically for local people. It is only CLT housing that is specifically for local people, other affordable housing can be made available to a wider audience which is outside the scope of the CLT. We have opened the “waiting list” and ultimately the demand may prove greater than predicted. If so we may consider additional sites to increase numbers as required.
NB. From the meeting held on the 7th December to date (21st Dec) we have received 10 expressions of interest for housing. This clearly demonstrates the need within the community. It is the case with successful projects that actual demand will always exceed estimates!
Q. Is there capacity in the school, the surgery and other services?
A. The CLT is working with the community to ensure there is sufficient capacity however, it cannot own the whole issue as the village is targeted for some 150 houses over the next 5 years, and additional capacity will be required with or without the CLT site. The CLT as a community led developer, will take these concerns much more seriously than a developer who is simply looking to exploit sites within the village for maximum profit with no long term interest.
The CLT has already had exploratory meetings with the local school and GP surgery.
Additional traffic is a huge concern for the village but that traffic will come from developments in the village whether from this scheme or others. We are working with the County Council to ensure the access to the site is safe and doesn't increase risks to traffic on the A1123.
The scheme will generate significant monies for updating infrastructure (including health, education, social care, transport, libraries, leisure and flood defences). The Community Infrastructure levy (CIL) on the 54 properties will raise about £390,000 to be spent on these local services (15% of this, or £58,500 will be returned to the Parish Council to use at their discretion).
Q. Why have you chosen Palace Green Homes and not gone out to tender for a development partner?
A. This seems a significant issue to some residents and we want to assure you that the Trustees have given this much thought before committing to this route. Palace Green Homes has been created by ECDC and the Trustees have no involvement in this. Our aim is to provide the best deal for our community. Significant benefits for the wider community are quoted later in this section from the arrangement, but these are incidental and beyond the Trustees remit. The CLT has only just been formed with a group of volunteer unpaid Trustees and little initial financial resource. We decided that we needed to take a fast and pragmatic route to deliver much needed housing asap. Having looked at the resources and timescales of other CLTs we wanted to achieve the same outputs much faster with our limited resources before more commercial sites moved forward in the village.
Under the agreement with Palace Green homes HCLT will achieve 16 affordable homes by 2018 with no upfront financing for Architects, Land Purchase, Planning or Construction. HCLT will then have assets valued at approximately £3.3m for a contract price of around £1.3m which is a fantastic deal for the village. HCLT will purchase the houses at the end on construction with a secure loan of £1.3m serviced by ongoing rental income. We will then have additional equity in the houses above the cost of the loan which can be used as security for other community led development. As previously mentioned, the Parish Council will also receive payments totalling £58,500 to spend at their own discretion.
In addition, Palace Green Homes, as the commercial arm of East Cambs District Council will return £2.2m from the scheme to the District Council to help pay for services in the wider community. This profit and similar profits from other CLT schemes in the district will greatly assist ECDC to continue to provide essential services at reasonable costs when central government grants are completely removed in the next few years. In any other relationship, these profits would have gone to developer shareholders!
We believe we could not achieve the same outputs in the same timescales by any other means.
We hope you will agree that the benefits of this approach are considerable and we believe other options would not be any better but certainly more complex and protracted to deliver.
Q. Local residents are affected, what is being done to minimise effects for them?
A. As with any development, there will be impacts on local residents. As a community led development we will do all possible within reason to minimise these impacts. We have already looked at using the topography of the site, use of the generous area and positioning of bungalows to minimise impact. We will take on board all comments received from the recent and future consultations.
Q. Why are you only offering housing for rental and not assisted purchase?
A. We have assessed housing needs and decided that the first priority is to provide affordable rented property. We have set the constitution of the CLT to be wide ranging thus allowing for affordable purchase of property if required. We can consider this option on this or future sites having due regard for demand and the financial consequences to the CLT.
Q. Are you looking at other sites?
A. It is possible that as the East Cambs Development Plan evolves in 2017 or even after that further land will be offered to the CLT. We will consider each site on its merits
Q. What are the benefits of this site compared to a developer led commercial development?
A. We have answered the financial benefits to the CLT, Parishioners and the wider East Cambridgeshire community in an earlier question. Our developments can be low density (approximately half that of commercial development) due to the financial model. The CLT development will better reflect the views of the community (providing we have sufficient membership to fully represent views – so sign up please). Our policy is to provide high quality housing which is sympathetically designed to fit in with the village. Our affordable homes are built to the same standard and integrated within the development and not a separate entity.
Our affordable homes are only available to people who live, work or have close ties to Haddenham or Aldreth (via the HCLT allocation policy yet to be finalised). Other affordable homes are allocated on a much wider geographical basis over which the community has no direct control.
In our view, community led development is much better for the village in all respects as residents can have a degree of control once they join the CLT.
Q. I have opinions on this - how can I make them heard and become involved?
A. Please sign up to the HCLT as a member or, volunteer as Trustee if you feel you have something to offer and contribute to its development and shape the future of our community.