Mayor James Palmer has said he hopes to see the first of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s £100,000 homes on the market by May 2021.
The combined authority board decided on Wednesday to move six policies up the agenda to speed up delivery.
Included is a plan for providing homes for sale for £100,000 or less across the county.
Speaking after the decision to make it a “key project,” the metro mayor said the first home on the market could be less than two years away.
He said: “I very much hope that we will have houses on the market before I go to election in 2021 (May). We are working with housing companies in Cambridgeshire to see if we can get some of these sites through as quickly as possible, hopefully in the next 12 to 18 months.”
Although the mayor could not say where the first of the £100,000, homes may be built in the county, explaining the policy, he said: “This is housing that is actually affordable to buy, freehold housing, for first-time buyers.
“It is clear that you can build homes for that cost. The problem is the cost of the land and that’s the issue that we have always had facing us in the expensive south, and the availability of land in the north of the county.
“So the combined authority is doing everything it can to make sure that young people – first time buyers – can buy their own home, freehold, for what we are saying is £100,000, but maybe in the north it could be a little bit less.
“And we think this will be transformational for young people in the county. It will allow them to buy their own home for significantly less than an affordable rent and less than half the price of actual rent.”
He said they will “absolutely” be “proper homes”. “We are looking at around 680-700 square feet,” he said. “So this is not a tiny box. This is somewhere that somebody can call a home and they own it and it’s freehold.”
He said the scheme could be delivered in the more expensive parts of the county such as Cambridge, saying “we can do that because we can make sure that the land value is right to build these houses on.
“As I’ve said, it doesn’t cost anything more to build a house in Cambridge or South Cambridgeshire than it does in Wisbech, it’s the cost of the land that makes a significant difference and we are about to solve that problem for people.”
He told the combined authority board meeting: “There are people in this room who can’t even image buying a house. And that’s something that has to be dealt with.”
He added: “It’s imperative that we do this. There are young people who are still living at home with their parents who cannot even dream of owning their own home and they can’t afford rent either. And if we don’t act on it, who the hell is going to?”
The six “key projects” are:
– Fenland Stations Regeneration: the work to deliver a range of improvements at train stations across March, Manea and Whittlesey and to push for more frequent and later services from these stations
– Bus Review Task Force: the implementation of recommendations and findings of the 2018 Strategic Bus Review. This includes scoping possible franchising or other bus delivery models by early 2021
– Adult Education Budget: responsibility for the devolved funding for Adult Education
– Community Land Trusts: increasing the potential CLT’s in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, paving the way for affordable housing
– £100,000 Homes: enabling the delivery of the first £100,000 homes
– Business Board: tracking and monitoring progress in the Business Board’s programme to deliver the Local Industrial Strategy.
Ben Hatton, Local Democracy Reporting Service