About the Wessex CLT Project

In 2010 WCA was commissioned by Carnegie UK Trust to carry out action research into the establishment of a CLT support project in Somerset and Dorset

In 2011 the CLT Project was funded by Devon County Council to include Devon within its remit. This became the Wessex CLT Project which now provides comprehensive support to CLTs at various stages of development throughout the three counties – see map on projects page. The Wessex CLT Project is now financially self-sustaining.

Montage of affordable housing developments
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Key achievements

 

  • Wessex-supported CLTs have led the development of over 100 homes across Somerset, Devon and Dorset with over 100 more in the pipeline; all built by the CLTs' housing association partners on community-owned land.

 

  • Over the past few years, Wessex-supported CLTs have won a number of rural housing awards from Devon Communities Together (formerly the Community Council): Christow CLT, Corry Valley CLT, Upper Culm CLT, Bradworthy CLT and Cheriton Bishop CLT.

 

  • In May 2012, the National CLT Network Conference recognised the Wessex CLT Project for "Exceptional support for the sector: For those who have shown exceptional readiness to support and promote the CLT movement. They have made great efforts to pioneer new solutions and to address the barriers experienced by CLTs, helping the movement to grow and flourish."

Our services

Detailed below is the range of services provided by WCLTP to CLTs working in partnership with a Housing Association.

Form of partnership - Explaining the differences between a) stand-alone CLT, and b) a CLT/housing association partnership. Facilitating the selection of a HA partner and brokering the heads of terms for the partnership between the CLT and HA. Facilitating the production of an Allocations Plan acceptable to all parties.

Business planning- Facilitating the CLT vision which will include future projects it may wish to be involved in (housing, shop, pub etc), its geographical area and the definition of its community. This feeds into the next item because certain legal formats lend themselves to trading or tax relief better than others.

Legal formats and documentation - Talking through the choice between a Community Interest Company, Community Benefit Society (otherwise known as an Industrial and Provident Society), or Company Limited by Guarantee that is also a Charity. Helping to devise the objectives of the CLT and incorporating the new organisation, inc the fund raising needed to pay for incorporation.

Finance - For the partnership route, we concentrate on a) raising the CLT's conveyancing and incorporation costs (c. £5-£10,000), b) attracting capital grant from the HCA and/or LA, c) attracting an administering grants for feasibility work and planning applications.

Site identification and land acquisition - Advising on the site selection process and on the heads of terms between the CLT and the landowner. Advising on the content and structure of a public meeting designed to win the support of the wider community for a recommended site. Recommending solicitors based on our experience of other projects. Providing template forms of option agreement and lease if necessary (i.e. where the CLT chooses a local solicitor who may not experience in this type of project).

Planning issues - Supporting the CLT in deciding the number, type, tenure and design principles of the proposed homes and to play a full part in promulgation of the planning application. Facilitating discussions between the CLT, HA and LA about the wording of the Section 106 agreement (where applicable) and ensuring that the CLT's preferences are incorporated as fully as possible.

Development risks - In a partnership scheme, ensuring it is understood that the HA takes the major risks - pre-devt costs (except where grant funded by the Homes and Communities Agency), capital finance, grant compliance, sales, procurement etc - and that the CLT helps ensure viability.

Communication - Supporting the CLT in its communications with the wider community as and when required, including as many public meetings as necessary.

Project Management - Administering project team meetings; drafting agendas, chairing and taking minutes as required until the CLT feels confident enough to take these on. Maintaining an up to date project plan which forecast when all elements of a project will take place (example attached).

Training - Organising training sessions in response to the CLTs' emerging needs. These include sessions on a) accounting, b) governance, and c) allocations.  Arranging visits by communities just starting out on community-led schemes.

Strategic advice - Researching ways of improving the social and financial return to CLTs - such as through a commission in 2013/14 by the Community Shares Unit - and advising on the implications of emerging initiatives such as the Government’s Community Led fund.

Problem Solving - Helping to keep the project on track by problem solving as and when snags arise; ranging from the withdrawal of grant for rented housing (in the CSR November 2015) to occasional reductions in the capacity of volunteers.

Lobbying – working with others in the Community-Led Housing sector to maximise resources and policy support for CLT-led projects, including relationships with MPs, civil servants and special advisers.

 

DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE PROJECT PLAN - CLICK HERE

A Registered Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2004 Registered number 30175R 

Registered address: Heatherton Park Studios, Bradford-on-Tone, Taunton, Somerset TA4 1EU.R