Mayor James Palmer moves to support March with £4.5m to help build up to 100 affordable homes on ‘windfall’ site in the town

147a Wisbech Road, March, that will be demolished to create an access to a new housing estate that w

147a Wisbech Road, March, that will be demolished to create an access to a new housing estate that will provide up to 118 new homes - 98 of them for affordable rent. Mayor James Palmer has agreed to financially support the scheme. Picture; GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

March is to get a huge injection of up to 100 affordable homes to rent following a major decision by Mayor James Palmer.

His Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) will agree next week to pump £4,542,000 into the new homes off Wisbech Road.

CAPCA has agreed to the deal - which won permission earlier this year for housing - with haulier Tony Knowles.

No 47a Wisbech Road will be demolished to create an access to the site next to the Meadowlands retail park.

Mr Knowles was given permission in February to build up to 118 homes on the site which would have mainly been for the private sector.

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But now Funding Affordable Homes (FAH), a social impact company which invests in UK affordable housing, will deliver 98 homes for affordable rent and 20 shared ownership homes.

CAPCA says the investment in March forms part of the devolution deal which secured £100 million from the Government to deliver 2,000 affordable homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

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This was upped to £170 million in 2017 with a fresh target of achieving 2,500 new affordable homes by March 2022.

A report to next week's housing and communities committee of CAPCA says the £100 million programme is on target plus the extra £70 million allocation which is to deliver 500 new council homes in Cambridge.

Wisbech Road is described in the report as "a windfall site" where previously the homes built there would have been mostly for straight sale.

"Through their investment and CAPCA grant support they are enabling the delivery of an affordable housing scheme," says the report.

With outline planning already granted a reserved matters application is expected this month and final planning agreed by March 2020.

Heads of terms have been agreed and exchange of contracts is due for completion in January.

CAPCA says they have held talks with Fenland District Council and no flats will be built on the site to focus on two, three and four bed houses.

The combined authority is emphatic that the lettings will be available in accordance with the district council's policies. It is expected the estate will be completed by July 2022.

The CAPCA cash works out at an average grant per home of £38,500.

Under the terms of the original masterplan submitted by Mr Knowles was a section 106 package that offered more than £1 million pounds to improve the local area.

Now it is to be exclusively for affordable homes that package could change.

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