Realising housing on the right sites is crucial to support economic prosperity
Date of Article
Feb 12 2013

Keep informed

Sign up to our newsletter to receive further information and news tailored to you.

Sign up now

07 February 2013, The identification of the right sites and the ability of our local authorities to bring them forward for housing as quickly as possible together with supporting infrastructure will be crucial in securing ongoing economic prosperity in the Cambridge area, say property experts in the city.

That’s the view put forward by Michael Hudson, a partner based in the Cambridge office of national property consultancy Carter Jonas, whose comments come just as the second round of public consultation on potential development sites in the City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council areas concludes in just over a week’s time (18 February).

Acknowledging the inevitability that a property consultancy such as Carter Jonas - whose clients have significant development interests in key trigger points across the city and the Cambridge sub-region - will be in favour of development, Michael Hudson is keen to point out that the modern property and development industry is well aware that housing won’t work in a location such as Cambridge without supporting and sustainable infrastructure.

Carter Jonas’s local planning team is directly involved in the development of the city's second railway station - Cambridge Science Park - acting for Cambridgeshire County Council in co-ordinating the planning application.

Infrastructure projects like this unlock development potential and, in stating the case for Cambridge's development, Michael Hudson references a report published last month (January) by independent think-tank, the Centre for Cities.

He says: "Without the expansion of residential development and accompanying infrastructure, business may be unable to attract the workforce it needs, given the high cost of housing in the area."

"New residential development, by way of Section 106 agreements which place obligations upon developers, can provide a mix of affordable housing tenures which are subsidised by the homes offered for sale at full market price."

"Only a viable scale of development in the right locations and the provision of transport infrastructure and amenity in tandem with the developments coming on-stream are going to ensure Cambridge’s economic pre-eminence. This is a position which, according to the Centre for Cities, positions Cambridge as one of the elite cities vital to the UK economy."

In looking forward to later in the year when, following this recent round of consultation, draft local plans will be drawn up in parallel by South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council, Michael Hudson adds a further note of caution.

He says: "The Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Eric Pickles has said that he is prepared to put poor performing planning authorities who fail to meet criteria for dealing with planning applications under special measures to ensure efficiency and delivery."

"The spotlight is on local authorities in this area to identify viable development sites and to bring them, and those in current plans, forward for development in a timely fashion."