Trinity College – biggest and wealthiest landowner in this part of the world – has once again lobbied the planners at SCDC to reduce its affordable housing quota on its Walton Green project – and this time the council seem to have caved in and are now recommending a reduction to 24% in its report to the planning committee which meets on 17th August.
There have been many years of protest and struggle to stop houses being built on land in Walton and Trimley – but whatever your views – if they have to be built the main justification is to ensure that a significant number of them are at least affordable. In April, after intervention by MP Teresa Coffey, the planners dismissed Trinity College’s request to reduce the one third percentage of affordable homes in the plan for Walton Green
But like the greedy, unprincipled charlatans they are – they are back again requesting the figure be cut to 17% and bleating abut poverty and their need to make as much money as possible to support their elite colleges.
They already have housing being built in Walton at the new Cavendish Grove estate and Thurman’s Lane in Trinley – and insist these schemes will provide 200 affordable homes so their responsibility should be reduced as they are ‘not seeking to achieve any more in land value than the council accepts is the minimum reasonable return for any landowner’
In fact Trinity is recognized to be the wealthiest college in Cambridge – its income being derived from a number of shrewd investments including Trimley Estates – land first acquired in 1933 prior to the major development of the Port of Felixstowe, the largest container port in the UK. Trinity owned the land around a relatively unimportant fishing port, which was too small to be worth including in the Dock Labour Scheme in 1947, meaning that the dockers’ union was unable to prevent the port adopting containerisation relatively early. As the container port expanded, they expanded onto Trinity-owned land, which thus became hugely valuable.
Trinity still own most of the land under Felixstowe docks, which is one of the College’s two star property investments (the other being Cambridge Science Park). There was a Cambridge joke that the College Port at most Colleges is a basic ruby, at St John’s ( the second richest College) it is late-bottled vintage, and at Trinity it is Felixstowe.
Trinity also owns the 999 year lease of the O2 Arena, acquiring rental income. They also bought Dunsfold Park, Surrey for £50 million in 2014, which is the site of the BBC show Top Gear’s track.
For the year ending 30 June 2015, the gross income from property for Trinity was £45.3 million,
Trinity owns 13,335 acres of land, with an estimated current unaudited worth of £730 million. The latter figure does not include the value of the main site in Cambridge.