Affordable housing: how accessible are current and new developments to key services?

Affordable housing is delivered, based on the local plans and targets of each district throughout Cambridgeshire. This report looks at the current or new developments of affordable housing across Cambridgeshire based on the planning applications received between 2002 and 2014. This accommodation is aimed at meeting the requirements of the people whose needs are not met by the market. A review of planning applications shows that affordable accommodation is not evenly spread across the county. The areas which are more deprived, according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015 1 , have fewer affordable housing (For example, parts of Fenland).

What data source is used?

This report used data from the annual monitoring survey 2014 ( carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council, looking at affordable housing planning permission completions and commitments between 1st April 2002 and 31st March 2014, in relation to key services. These key services include retail shops, doctors, hospitals, primary schools, secondary schools and bus stops. The underlying map is a thematic (colour-coded) map using the local Cambridgeshire deciles of Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015 2 by Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOA’s) (a decile of 1 represents the most deprived 10%).

The time taken to reach the nearest essential services using public transport was measured and tracked using tracking software (Visography-TRACC) and results are as follows:

Time to:

Bus stop: 42% of the affordable houses have their nearest bus stop within a two minute walking distance, and 22% are reachable in five or more minutes. The average walking time to reach a bus stop is 3.37 minutes.

Doctor: Only 15% of the affordable houses can reach a doctor within a five minute public transport journey. Whereas, 39% of the affordable houses take over 10 minutes to reach a doctor using public transport, with some areas of Fenland and Huntingdonshire taking more than 20 minutes to reach a doctor. The average journey on public transport to get to a doctor from an affordable home in Cambridgeshire is 9.5 minutes.

Retail: Only 22% of the households can reach a retail shop within five minutes on public transport. In Fenland and South Cambridgeshire it may take between 20-43 minutes to reach the nearest retail shop using public transport for 22% of their affordable houses. The average time taken for Cambridgeshire is 12 minutes.

Pharmacy: A total 24% of Cambridgeshire's’ affordable houses can reach a pharmacy within 5 minutes using public transport. 12% of houses in Fenland and Huntingdonshire may take 20 or more minutes to reach their nearest pharmacy using public transport. The average time taken is 10.6 minutes.

Primary Schools: When using public transport, 97% of affordable houses are within 15 minutes of a primary schools; the average time taken is 6.4 minutes.

Secondary schools: Around 37% of the affordable houses lie within 20 to 57 minutes from a secondary school using a public transport (19% take 20 – 25 minutes, whilst 16% take 25+ minutes). The average time taken is 17.4 minutes.

The map attached shows the location of the affordable housing developments, with a proportional circle showing how long it takes to reach a pharmacy on public transport. This is overlaid onto a map of Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) and their local 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation decile ranking (with decile 9 and 10 combined).

*More maps on different key services and references are available on request.

For further information, contact: Vandana Manocha or Heather Doidge – Planning Support Officers Cambridgeshire County Council, Shire Hall, Cambridge, CB3 0AP Tel: 01223 699941, 01223 715684 Email:


  1. Indices of Deprivation | Cambridgeshire Insight Open Data 

  2. Cambridgeshire Insight | Deprivation