Homes fit for the future

Councillor Naomi at site of demolished buildingGreens are the only local party to oppose the policy of growth at all costs. Cambridgeshire’s authorities are currently operating under massive uncertainties created by COVID, Brexit and shifting central Government priorities. We are also awaiting firm plans from the water companies on how demand is to be met in the future. Greater Cambridge is already committed to thousands of new jobs and houses in the adopted 2018 Local Plans – more than enough to meet demand according to latest projections. It makes no sense to expand and accelerate the house building programme, as is currently proposed in the draft Local Plan. Rather than scrabbling to keep up with outdated projections of growth in our region, we must plan for the future we actually want.

Priority should be given to investing in existing communities rather than new development. Any new developments should be based on local need and ideally involve future residents in their design. New settlements must be more than ‘low carbon’: they must provide local services and low-carbon transport options to enable emission reductions across the region. ‘Net zero’ buildings must mean more than minimising day-to-day emissions: the carbon costs of construction, the embodied carbon in building materials, and the loss of carbon stocks from destroying soils, vegetation or existing structures, must be taken into account. Wherever possible, existing buildings should be renovated rather than demolished and rebuilt. Buildings must be habitable in the face of a climate that has increasingly extreme weather events, including insulation to the highest building standards.

Green Councillors will:

  • Continue to campaign for a “pause and rethink” on the policy of accelerated growth proposed in the draft Local Plan
  • Continue to lobby for a fair and effective use of the Council’s limited retrofit funding to benefit as many citizens as possible
  • Provide information to help home owners put in insulation, solar panels, and heat pumps in place of gas boilers.
  • Lobby for policy to require that all new Council-funded buildings, including council housing, be built to the Passivhaus standard (or equivalents for non-domestic buildings) and that any full retrofits of buildings meet the retrofit Passivhaus standard EnerPHit
  • Consider the feasibility of a council "kitemark" to be awarded to developments that comply with the council's highest standards to encourage voluntary compliance with higher standards than those imposed by law, including but not limited to Passivhaus
  • Lobby for recruitment of an additional building controls inspector to ensure the city's required standards are adhered to
  • Work to find constructive uses for empty buildings, for example as social housing 

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