Independent advisors have recommended that Cambridge City Council should take forward three options for the future of the Ekin Road housing estate.
The Ekin Road estate in Abbey currently has more than 120 homes, including flats, bungalows, maisonettes and houses, including many council-owned homes. Many of the properties have ongoing maintenance issues and do not meet current standards for sustainability and accessibility, so the estate is being considered as a possible site for refurbishment or redevelopment.
An initial seven options were put forward, ranging from minimal change (undertaking routine maintenance only), or minor refurbishment projects, through to redevelopment of some properties, or full redevelopment of the entire site.
In June, the council appointed Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as third-party advisors to assess the potential options. Over the summer JLL conducted an initial review of the site and advised on the best approach for the future of Ekin Road, taking into account the potential economic, social, environmental, financial and strategic benefits of the different options. An engagement process was also undertaken with residents to collect feedback from the community.
The resulting recommendation is to continue with only three of the original options for further consideration:
- Retaining existing buildings, but undertaking essential repairs and retrofitting
- Partial redevelopment, but retaining 20 houses to the south and east
- Full redevelopment of the entire site.
The recommendation to continue with three of the original options will be discussed at Cambridge City Council’s Housing Scrutiny Committee on 19 September. If approved, work will then be undertaken to further refine these three options. One of the first steps will be to conduct a survey of all residents to gain an understanding of their viewpoints at this stage. Individual confidential appointments will also be made available for residents who wish to speak to council officers directly. A preferred option will then be presented to the council’s Housing Scrutiny Committee in 2024 for a decision.
Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing and Homelessness, said: “We’re committed to addressing the shortage of affordable housing across the city – which in large part can only be addressed by building more homes – as well as working to improve the quality of aging council homes. One way we can do this is by looking at areas where we have lots of aging council homes, and weighing up whether the best thing to do in residents’ interests is to refurbish or retrofit these properties, or to redevelop some or all of the buildings altogether, to enable more sustainable homes to be built.
“We know the prospect of having to move out is difficult for people to live with for too long, so I’m really pleased that progress is being made for residents at Ekin Road. We hope to be able to have more discussions with residents in the future, as the project team works to refine a preferred option for the site, which will then provide more certainty to tenants and home owners.”
In schemes where the council identifies an opportunity to replace aging and out of date properties with new sustainable homes, comprehensive support is provided to affected tenants or homeowners. In schemes where this has happened previously, the council has worked with every individual household, taking their circumstances into account and providing dedicated support to help residents find a new home while work is ongoing on site.
The best place to find further information about how to give feedback on the proposed options is on the Ekin Road project website.