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Keyworker Housing for Covid-19 Heroes

by Amanda Taylor on 5 May, 2020

Liberal Democrat councillors in Queen Edith’s ward are calling for a proportion of affordable housing planned at sites to the north and south of Worts Causeway, to be reserved for keyworkers working within Queen Edith’s Ward, which includes Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Outline planning applications for both sites, totalling 430 new houses including 40% at affordable rates, are due to be considered by the City Council Planning Committee as soon as council meetings resume.

Councillor George Pippas explained:

“Whether teachers, hospital porters or doctors, our gratitude to local keyworkers during the Covid-19 crisis is beyond measure. But we want to go even further and support the provision of housing to those most in need and also most likely to work locally, so they can walk or cycle to work, easing congestion and reducing pollution.

Councillor Colin McGerty added:

“Reserved keyworker housing reaches deeper into the local housing need than council housing alone and we strongly urge the planning committee to consider adopting this approach.

“The City Council have been reluctant to identify keyworkers as a group within local housing provision, but the Covid-19 crisis had brought into sharp focus who it is we can really rely on in a crisis. We believe their heroism should be repaid by making it just a bit easier to live a short distance from work and local schools.”

In addition to the question of affordable housing, local councillors have raised the issue of a gas pipeline which runs under the site south of Worts Causeway. The Heath and Safety Executive are not yet satisfied with arrangements for dealing with it, although the operator, Cadent Gas, do not object to the application in principle.

County Councillor Amanda Taylor has raised the issues of transport and education provision. Even combined, the two sites do not trigger the provision of a new school and the question of where to send roughly an extra class per year group has not yet been satisfactorily answered by the County Council.

Even the County Council’s own highways department have registered an objection to the development for its potential to impact the already busy Babraham Road.

Councillor Taylor told us:

“We are urging the committee to reject the current scheme on the grounds of insufficient local services, lack of public transport and unsustainable infrastructure focused almost entirely on cars.

“This development could have set the standard for housing a new community with affordable housing and accessible travel routes. Instead, we are presented with a design which will encourage more car use. It’s a huge disappointment.”

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