Building affordable homes in Peterborough
You may have seen in the media at the weekend that young adults are half as likely to own a home now as they were 20 years ago, writes leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich.
The claim was made by the Local Government Association in a report titled Understanding the Local Housing Market, which warns that many young people face renting into retirement as high rents hinder their ability to save.
It is a problem, which is why we work closely with housing associations and home builders to achieve a good mix of new housing in the city, including affordable homes to buy and rent.
In the past five years 5,328 new homes have been completed in Peterborough, with 1,074 of these affordable. Housing associations have provided an additional 150 homes for affordable ownership and rent, with a further 252 anticipated in the current financial year.
Only last week, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority approved funding of £1.2 million to acquire a 5.1 acre site in the north of the city for around 60 homes, with 30 per cent of these affordable.
The combined authority has also agreed funding of £735,000 to convert 21 new homes from open market sale to affordable rent at Belle Vue in Stanground. It’s the second site to be developed by Medesham Homes, the joint venture partnership between the council and Cross Keys Homes.
In May, the city council agreed to provide almost £6.2 million to Medesham Homes, funded from Right to Buy receipts, to deliver 35 new affordable homes at Eye Green.
These projects are all really encouraging and are part of a long term plan to deliver homes across the city for everyone, whether it’s for the private sector, social rent, shared ownership or private rental.
The city council has also invested £10 million for the purchase of homes off the open market for use as temporary accommodation for families who are homeless and awaiting permanent re-housing. So far we’ve purchased 51 properties and anticipate being able to buy a further eight.
Our city continues to grow faster than many other parts of the country with significant levels of growth and housing experienced in the past 10 years. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of this slowing down, so it’s important that our efforts to create new housing don’t either.
Last week I attended a reception at Parliament hosted by Brandon Lewis MP, along with the Mayor of Cambridgeshire James Palmer and businessman Rob Facer of Barnack Construction to support the campaign to dual the A47 between Peterborough and Lowestoft.
This road joins the city with the east coast and is of national strategic importance, linking the Midlands with Eastern seaports, and acts as an economic artery that runs through Peterborough.
At the meeting I made sure I represented Peterborough’s interests and explained that dualling the sections on our patch would bring huge benefits, reducing journey times and congestion and supporting our vision to see more local economic growth.
In further good news, the combined authority has agreed to include two Peterborough road schemes on its list of priorities. This list is then shared with the government for a decision on funding.
The two projects are access to the new university site on The Embankment and linking the A47 better with Eastern Industry, taking the pressure off Eye and Parnwell.
The city’s Safer Off the Streets partnership is celebrating this week after winning a regional award at the Britain and Ireland Awards, organised by Premier Christian Radio.
The partnership, which scooped the ‘Best Start-Up’ category, helps on average two rough sleepers to leave the streets a month since it began in October last year and has raised a whopping £8,000 for charity.
I know many of you, myself included, have donated money either online or via the contactless card reader in St Peter’s Arcade, the money goes towards the running of the Garden House in the cathedral grounds.
The Garden House is run by the Light Project Peterborough - which also won an award - and does a fantastic job of creating a welcoming environment for rough sleepers thanks to its kind-hearted volunteers.
Another of the scheme’s partners, Care Zone, which operates out of Kingsgate Community Church, also won an award at the ceremony, which is a great achievement.
I’d like to say a massive well done to all those involved in the Safer Off the Streets partnership and to the Light Project for their efforts.
Finally, did you know the council now sends an e-newsletter to residents every week? It includes a link to my blog and other important news about the council. Sign up at www.peterborough.gov.uk.