Council joins forces with local company to invest in new homes

News release from 10 January 2017, 3:50pm

CAMBRIDGE City Council has teamed up with Hill Investment Partnerships, a subsidiary of the housebuilding company Hill Holdings Limited, to form a new investment company to tackle the affordable housing shortage in the city.

The new Cambridge Investment Partnership will fund the redevelopment of council-owned land to provide much-needed housing. The partnership will also provide a new revenue stream for the council as it moves towards 2020, when the government’s core grant to the council will end.

The partnership will be 50% owned by the council and 50% owned by Hill and overseen by a board made up of equal representatives from the two partners.

The council will identify and invest in land that it already owns using funds allocated from its General Fund, and will invest its knowledge and skills alongside those of Hill, who will also fund land and the costs of working up a planning application.

The partnership is likely to provide a range of housing, both market and affordable, and will consider commercial and community uses on a site by site basis. Either partner can veto a prospective development after it has been fully appraised.

Cllr Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “Forming the Cambridge Investment Partnership is another innovative way in which the council is meeting some of the key challenges facing Cambridge, especially the severe shortage of affordable housing and the reduction in our funding from the national government.

“The partnership will allow us to develop General Fund land already owned by the council to provide new housing, and reinvest future revenue into providing the services that residents most need. We also remain committed to identifying sites using our Housing Revenue Account to redevelop as 100% council homes wherever possible.”

“We look forward to the partnership being very successful. Along with the £70m grant to be given to the council by the government as part of the recent Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution deal, plus Right To Buy receipts, we will now be able to provide more of the much-needed housing the city desperately needs, in the coming years.”

Ernie Battey, Director of Hill Investment Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the city council’s Investment Partner to create and deliver a whole range of opportunities across this amazing city. 

“By combining our joint resources we will be tackling the housing shortage across Cambridge with a focus on maximising value for the council whilst maintaining excellence in design and ‘placemaking’.  Affordable housing is in short supply across the city and we aim to make a real difference in tackling this issue by providing new homes, which in many instances will change people’s lives.”

Councillors approved proposals for the partnership at Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee in July. This was followed by a period of legal due diligence and consultation that resulted in Hill Investment Partnerships Limited being selected as the council’s partner.