On behalf of the charity, It Takes a City, Carter Jonas managed and submitted an application for four modular homes for the homeless, on leftover garden land in south Cambridge.
Cambridge is experiencing an affordability crisis and despite the efforts of a variety of organisations, homelessness remains a critical problem. In March 2023 80 single homeless people were in temporary accommodation and a further 200 in hostels. In 2022 over 2,200 people sought Council help due to housing stress, up 10% in a year, and over 800 were owed a statutory homelessness duty.
Modular homes offer the opportunity to develop plots of land that cannot be used for traditional housing. They are manufactured off site in a training facility for young, disadvantaged people and can be installed or de-installed in a day.
This site is in a verdant part of southeast Cambridge. The Planning team coordinated the submission documents and managed the application and determination process, including extensive liaison with Council officers. Whilst the need for the proposals was clear, the argument was finely balanced due to concerns about the impact on the character of the area, the loss of protected trees, and the loss of garden land once associated with the neighbouring property. Despite pressure from Council officers to remove one of the units to mitigate this impact, the team held firm, and the application was approved at planning committee.
Chris Jenkin, Chair of It Takes a City Community Land Trust, said: “Carter Jonas has been supporting us from the beginning of our search for land for modular homes for the homeless. Although we are not a commercial developer with deep pockets, their advice and help has always been timely and professional.”
The planning team are now working on discharging relevant conditions so that installation of the homes can begin as soon as possible.