Delight as district council completes deal for Ely MOD site

A former Ministry of Defence (MoD) estate in Ely is set to be transformed into much-needed housing thanks to the district council.
East Cambridgeshire District Council has bought the site, which includes 88 houses that were no longer needed by the MOD after US Air Force personnel and their families moved out. 
The ownership of the site, which is located adjacent to the Princess of Wales Hospital, has been transferred directly to the council’s trading arm, East Cambs Trading Company, which plans to renovate the existing housing and increase the number of properties to 92.
Of those, 15 will be provided as shared ownership affordable homes for people who live or work locally.
The remainder will be refurbished and sold on the open market over the next two years.
Councillor Anna Bailey, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We’re thrilled to get this development underway and deliver this vitally important housing at no cost to our residents.
“I am delighted that we have been able to effectively intervene and take a site that is currently unoccupied and improve it – not just into houses, but homes.”
Councillor Anna Bailey - Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council
As part of the first phase of the development, there are also plans to make improvements to the street scene and create additional off-road parking.
The transformation of the site will be made possible thanks to a loan of £24.4million provided by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and an additional loan of £1.5m from the district council.
Subject to planning permission, a second phase to the development will see the trading arm company submit an application to build additional homes within the former MoD estate.
If the plans are given the go-ahead, the council will proactively look to deliver over and above the local planning policy’s 30% affordable housing requirement and earmark more of the new-build properties specifically for those who work or live in the local area. 
The closure of the MoD housing site began in September 2012 with the last remaining properties being vacated earlier this year.
It was originally built to provide housing for service families working at bases around Ely including RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall.
Andrew Pullen-Jones from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation said: “We are delighted that we have been able to work with East Cambridgeshire District Council to bring forward this site for housing. This is a great example of how land which is no longer required by the MOD can be used to benefit local communities.”