We have now held discussions with all four of the housing associations who have partnered CLTs in the Wessex region and all are keen to continue working with CLTs. A housing association quoted in Wessex’s recent research attributed the appeal of working with CLTs to: “The sense of really delivering something that is wanted and needed by a community, rather than any sense of imposing something or delivering something which divides opinion.”
Cross-subsidy schemes – where little or no grant is involved and market homes help to pay for the affordable ones – will be more popular than before, with HAs able to take on the market sales as well. But schemes of 100% affordable rented homes will also be supported; something of a relief given that, in rural areas, rented housing is in very short supply and average incomes are a fraction of average house prices.
CLT projects in the Wessex area are already adapting to the new funding environment: about 1/3 of the new schemes will be entirely cross-subsidised whereas none of the first projects were. These are some of the most strongly supported housing projects anywhere and we hope that the HCA and District Councils will continue to be as flexible as possible in allocating grant where cross-subsidy is unavailble. At the time of bidding for funding, most schemes also have planning permissions obtained by the CLTs through Community-Led Project Support Grants (now known as Community Buildings Grants.)
Now that the HAs’ business plan reviews are complete, the next step is to discuss the overall timing and funding requirements of new CLT projects with the HCA and District Councils. And those CLTs which have not already selected their HA-partners, will now be doing so.