Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing and Homelessness, said: “We do understand that living in a state of limbo causes concern for people, and that’s why we are hoping to be able to provide clarity on next steps following the Housing Scrutiny Committee meeting. That said, I would like to reassure residents that if they are asked to move out of their homes, we have considerable experience of working with households to provide support to make the transition as seamless as possible.
“For example, tenants required to relocate will be offered 1:2:1 support, where considerations such as social bonds and local connections are considered – for example, we recently supported two neighbours to both relocate to the same new development. Tenants are given an initial payment of £1,250 to help with moving costs – or the council can make arrangements on the tenant's behalf – plus a further compensation payment of £7,800. They will also be given the highest banding (top priority) on Home-Link, to bid on homes of their choosing. If a proposed redevelopment in East Barnwell is approved in November, we would anticipate any Ekin Road residents needing to relocate to be able to access brand new homes in nearby East Barnwell.
“While it may still be the case that some of the houses are not redeveloped, should the decision be taken to redevelop, leaseholders and freeholders will receive comprehensive support. This ranges from independent market valuations of their homes, in addition to statutory compensation and costs covered such as legal fees, mortgage redemption fees, stamp duty and removal costs. We will also work with every resident to help them find a suitable new home.”
"We understand that this is a difficult time for Ekin Road residents who are living with uncertainty about the future of their homes, and we are working to keep residents regularly updated and involved in the process. We need to bring the ageing post-war homes at Ekin Road up to modern sustainability and accessibility standards, and address the ongoing maintenance issues that many of the properties have; doing nothing is not a viable option, and would not be fair to council tenants who deserve to live in high-quality homes.
"The three options now being considered – as published and presented on 4 September – therefore range from refurbishment only, through to redevelopment of some of the properties, or full redevelopment of all homes. All of these options are still on the table.
"As always, residents can email, call or write to the council with any concerns or questions they have, and if they would like to arrange a call or home visit and discuss the contents of the report, this can be facilitated too (information on how to do this has been posted to all affected residents). Residents will also be sharing their views at the Housing Scrutiny Committee, at which the committee will be asked to decide whether to continue work based on the three proposed options."
- A resident survey conducted in 2022 received 63 responses, from 58 households (of 122). 77.5% strongly agreed or agreed in favour of redevelopment. Many residents have also indicated to the council, via housing officers, that they are looking to move and would like to see redevelopment.
- At least 72% of households on the estate have engaged with the council in relation to the future of the Ekin Road.
- The council has considerable experience in working with tenant and leasehold households throughout any moving process. To date, 117 tenant households have been supported to move to a home of their choosing, and 29 leaseholders have been supported to secure a new property after selling their home back to the council. You can see a case study from tenants who have recently been supported to move: Neighbours find new homes at Timber Works - Cambridge Investment Partnership (ip-cambridge.co.uk)
- Tenants relocating are given the highest banding on the Home-link choice-based lettings system and support is provided to register and access the system on an ongoing basis. Tenants are able to bid on properties of their choosing and there is no limit as to how many properties are viewed. Financial assistance is provided with an initial payment of £1,250 to help with moving costs – or the council can make arrangements on the tenant's behalf, particularly if they are more vulnerable. A further statutory compensation payment is payable of £7,800. Special consideration is given to those tenants who require adapted properties, and these have been arranged in advance of a tenant moving, with full involvement of an OT and social care where applicable.
- Homeowners have the reassurance of an independent market valuation that can be arranged by the council or with a RICS surveyor of their choosing. Once the valuation is agreed, resident homeowners receive compensation of a further 10% of the market value. Support is provided throughout the lease / property surrender process in terms of the conveyance and finding another property. Further payments are made to cover legal costs, stamp duty land tax, mortgage redemption fees and the various incidental moving costs.