CHS Group, the Cambridge-based charitable housing association and social enterprise, has completed work on four new homes in Cambridge, with two homes available for social rent, and two available for shared ownership.

This is the first time that CHS Group has been able to build new social rented housing in the city since 2013, due to high land prices, and lack of government grants, making it difficult for many housing associations to directly acquire land for new homes. In high rent areas like Cambridge, social rents may be 40% of the market rate, compared to ‘affordable’ rented property, which is normally set at up to 80% of the market rate.

The new homes, which were built by local company Dean & Dean Construction, are located off Ditton Fields and at the rear of existing CHS Group homes on Ditton Walk, Cambridge. The development has been named Durrant Close in memory of the late John Durrant, a former Cambridge mayor who made valuable contributions to city planning and housing, and tackling homelessness in Cambridge.

All four houses on the new development have three bedrooms and are suitable for families of five. The development was officially opened by local Labour Party MP, Daniel Zeichner, on Friday 7 February 2020.

Nigel Howlett, Chief Executive, CHS Group, comments: “We are delighted that these new homes are now available to local families in Cambridge. Building social rented housing within the city has proved extremely challenging in recent years; however, the need for low cost housing in Cambridge is intensifying greatly. Being able to provide social rented accommodation in particular is of utmost importance for people in need in our city. We would like to thank Homes England which has been able to provide valuable grant funding to enable us to offer two new homes at social rent.

“It feels only appropriate to dedicate this new development in honour of Mayor John Durrant, who, during his two decades as a committed counsellor, had a huge influence on the growth of housing in Cambridge, as well as other areas of important development, such as the new Cambridge North Station. On top of his work in city planning, he was an enthusiastic supporter of efforts to help homeless people in Cambridge and was involved with many charitable initiatives.”

Daniel Zeichner, Cambridge Labour Party MP, commented: “I’m delighted to visit these new family homes. We’re lucky to have organisations like CHS working with local communities to keep building homes that local families can really afford to call home. The houses feel high quality and tailor made and I know the new residents will really enjoy living here and contributing to the local community.”

Labour MP for Cambridge Daniel Zeichner outside CHS’ new social rented and shared ownership homes in Cambridge