In addition to a commitment to building new council homes, the council regularly looks at existing council homes to make improvements, whether on safety, efficiency, accessibility or comfort for residents. In some cases, there is a need to consider whether council homes can be sufficiently improved through remedial works or whether a bigger redevelopment is needed to provide a better long-term solution for tenants, and to deliver a greater number of much-needed new council homes.
Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing at Cambridge City Council, said: “There is an opportunity at Ekin Road to provide new sustainable homes and an improved environment for residents, but nothing has yet been decided. We really want to hear from local residents which is why we are consulting now ahead of any decision. I would encourage all residents of the Ekin Road estate to complete our survey. A number of options are being considered – from remedial works to maintain existing council homes, to a partial redevelopment of some areas, or a full redevelopment of the site. We have to consider which options are feasible and which provide the greatest benefits.
“We understand people are concerned about the possibility that they will have to move but it is just too early to say. What we can say at this stage is that, if redevelopment goes ahead, we will work with every household, taking individual circumstances into account. One of our aims in consulting is to build up a better picture of the needs of local people. If council tenants do have to move they will continue to have the option to be secure tenants of the council. We will work closely with tenants to best meet their needs; we expect this would be from the homes the council owns in the area but some tenants may want to move further afield. It may be possible for some tenants to return to the Ekin Road estate as it is redeveloped. People who own their homes would be offered the market value of their homes through sale back to the council. There is also a compensation package for both tenants and owners and financial support for the costs of relocating."
Only in autumn 2022 or early 2023 will an initial decision be made about likely next steps, and all residents in Ekin Road will be kept updated as soon as we know more. The council will continue to engage with the residents and plan to work with a steering group of residents to help shape future plans.
The executive councillor leading on this matter is Cllr Gerri Bird, (Labour) Executive Councillor for Housing. Spokespersons from the other political groups on this issue are Cllr Katie Porrer (Liberal Democrat) and Cllr Matthew Howard (Green/Independent Group)