The homes will be built on land next to Christ the Redeemer Church on Newmarket Road Christ the Redeemer Church

Cambridge City Council has approved plans to build a row of “micro-homes” in what developers describe as an effort to “break the cycle of homelessness.”

The six units are to be built as part of a project jointly led by the homelessness charity Jimmy’s and the development firm Allia. One of the six homes will house a support worker, and they are intended to be designed with a “hygge feel,″ referring to the Danish concept of a cosy and comfortable living space which is beneficial for the inhabitants’ wellbeing.

Each home is set to measure 25 square meters. This means, however, that the size of the dwellings will fall below the Council’s minimum recommendation of 37 square meters for a studio built to house one bedspace.

The structures will be temporary, with planning permission granted for three years. If, after this period, the land is needed for other uses, the units will be relocated, with residents will be given the choice to move with them.

According to Cambridgeshire Live, acting chief executive of Allia, Martin Clark, suggested that more of these types of homes could be built in the future, saying, “In terms of the future - this is only the first parcel, we want to make sure we have got a really good pipeline of sites for moving onto in the future.”

Speaking after the decision to grant planning permission had been made, Clark said the aim of the project was to provide an alternative to the hostel system, which he described as sometimes being somewhat of a “revolving door” for people.

“So this is to give a bit more stability, maybe a year or two years… put down some roots, get some intensive support provided by [Jimmy’s], and hopefully stabilise their lives and then get really proper long-term accommodation from there.”


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The units will be located next to Christ the Redeemer Church on Newmarket Road and each will be an “efficiently designed space that creates a separate bedroom, bathroom and utility room, with a shower and washing machine, and an open plan living [and] kitchen area.”

Data released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this year revealed that the rate of deaths among homeless people in Cambridge was double the national figure between 2013 and 2017.

During this period an estimated 18 homeless people died in Cambridge, equating to a rate of 2.7 per 100,000 people. This was more than twice the average rate in England and Wales, which was 1.2 per 100,000.

A count of rough sleepers in the city conducted in November 2018 and published in February of this year also revealed that there was a marginal rise of those sleeping on the streets from the previous year.