Cambridge City Council has released a statement on 3-4 Station Square, Cambridge to answer questions on the high proportion of overseas investors and the lack of any affordable housing.
Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service received a series of questions regarding the development at 3-4 Station Square, Cambridge (formerly Murdoch House) and the wider ‘CB1’ development.
The statement, released on June 13 commences by addressing the fact that the development contains no affordable homes.
The Council stated that the applicants, Brookgate, argued that the development was not viable if affordable homes were included.
The council subsequently employed independent viability experts to review the applicant’s financial appraisal in line with the national practice guidance.
The valuation exercise partially reflected the high existing use value of the former commercial building and concluded that no viable development could occur only if there was any affordable housing.
Moving onto the council’s response to a councillor’s assertion that the CB1 development has not ‘done anything for the local community’ and ‘has not lived up to promises’.
The statement highlights that CB1 has created significant new commercial and office space, which has attracted premium global companies and jobs to the heart of the city.
Some 325 new homes (37 per cent affordable) have also been constructed with 1,085 student apartments, alongside 6,000 new cycle parking spaces and over £10m of private sector contributions to the railway station, public art, transport infrastructure, education, and open space.
One in five apartments in 3-4 Station Square have been leased to purchasers based overseas after being marketed internationally, and so the council was asked whether or not they believed controls need to be placed on developers to negate this.
The council highlighted that there is currently no mechanism available which would allow the council to control the purchase of property interests through the planning process.
For market sales of residential properties on the council’s own land, the council does restrict purchases to one purchase per buyer with the aim of removing the attraction of properties to major investors who prefer to buy in bulk numbers.
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