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Brand new community hub and 13 affordable homes

Following the acquisition of the Brooksbank police authority stock in 2009, Iceni Homes and Hundred Houses have been working with Melborn Parish Council to develop a scheme which best addresses local community needs. Early meetings established a long-standing need for a community centre – eventually branded a ‘community hub’ – within Melbourn, incorporating facilities such as a Parish Council office, meeting room and library.

Harnessing the site’s potential

From the outset, Hundred Houses was aware of the site’s redevelopment potential and, once acquisition was complete, tasked Iceni with establishing how to make better use of the land.

Consultation with the local community

Early meetings with the Parish Council highlighted local apprehensions over the redevelopment of such a high profile and centrally-located site. A subsequent consultation aimed at placating local concerns identified the possibility of including a community centre in the scheme.

New community hub with library and parish council offices

A community centre concept was developed in liaison with the parish council, which agreed to pay for the centre’s provision. As such the building and associated land would be transferred to the parish council upon completion.

The location within the site and other details of the community centre were agreed after further meetings and discussions. Once detailed budget costs were provided, further funding from the Public Loans Board was obtained to top-up existing parish council reserves.

A public consultation on the services offered by the community hub and the cost of their provision to the parish took place, eliciting no significant adverse feedback.

Affordable homes for the community

13 affordable homes were built on the site (including three shared ownership properties), along with the 250m2 community hub. Iceni Homes employed a contractor to build the entire scheme, through a JCT Building Contract with Hundred Houses – which had an agreement in place with Melbourn Parish Council for the sale/purchase of the community centre and associated land upon the completion of the scheme.

Low-risk approach

Because the land had already been secured through wider police stock acquisition, additional risk was reduced. The risk of failing to secure planning permission was mitigated through wide consultation and the submission being made in full compliance with planning policy. Sales risk on shared ownership was mitigated by obtaining independent expert sales advice, while affordable rents risk was mitigated through obtaining independent expert rental advice.

Budget details

  • The contract value for the project: £1,915,305.
  • Community centre total scheme cost: £520,168
  • Residential scheme total cost: £2,478,998
  • Grant funding of £20,000 per affordable rent unit, (£200,000 in total), was secured through the HCA framework contract bid.