Evidence to a APP

The National Housing Taskforce is a cross-sectoral and political coalition convened by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Planning and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Click here). As one of 12 distinct areas of work, the Taskforce has commissioned he National CLT Network to organise an inquiry into how to support and enable ‘new sources of housing supply’, including small builders, self-build, custom build and community-led providers. The inquiry is chaired by Helen Hayes MP, with vice chairs Richard Bacon MP and Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville. Wessex has provided the following evidence to the inquiry and presented further information to one of the hearings in October.

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  • CLT/RP partnerships have proved effective over the past 5 years as a major modification of the RP-led approach to rural affordable housing. Whereas rural communities tend to be cast as NIMBYs because they oppose developer-led projects, when mobilised through a CLT they invariably support and promote the supply of new housing.
  • The benefits of this are: a much reduced risk of projects being aborted due to local opposition; the restoration of trust between communities and Councils/RPs; an increase in the capacity of rural communities to take on other projects/services; and a steady supply of small-medium-sized projects across innumerable small communities. In a nutshell, this approach supplies possibly the most wanted new housing in the country, sometimes having virtually no opposition.
  • The key to this approach is balancing a community’s desire to lead a project with a RP’s willingness to ‘be led’ in its development, financing and operating roles. Underpinning these roles, the CLT becomes the freeholder and the RP the leaseholder. A specialist service such as the Wessex CLT Project provides ongoing support for CLTs, from the initial public meetings through incorporation, governance, site finding, agreeing heads of terms with a landowner, attracting Community Buildings grant, selecting a suitable RP, agreeing the terms of the CLT/HA’s partnership, obtaining planning permission, drafting an allocation plan and completing the project. (See the services offered by Wessex CLT Project at http://wessexca.co.uk/wessex-clt-project/)
  • Obstacles include the lack of grant funding for rented housing (by far the most needed tenure in rural communities); the lack of widespread support for these kind of partnerships through services such as WCLTP; the lack of grant funding at appropriate levels to support relatively high-cost schemes in landscape-sensitive locations; and the lack of RPs willing/able to consider this approach.
  • If the government could provide one thing to assist such partnerships it would be a supply of grant for community-led rented housing projects at a sufficient level to ensure that the schemes are viable.

 

Building Resilient Communities

The Friends Provident Foundation funded Building Resilient Communities project has been continuing to work with CLTs and Community Benefit Societies which have completed one project and are exploring whether a new project is viable. The types of project being supported are supported housing for older people, woodland, renewable energy schemes, the acquisition and renovation of a former school site, fundraising for expansion and also relocation.

Many organisations have also been looking at reviewing and strengthening their governance; we have been offering support to CLTs and community benefit societies to do this.

Ashcott – Neighbourhood Plan Referendum

This is a picture of Charity Farm. It is in the High Street near to Manor House. On maps dated 1796, 1886 and 1904 Charity Farm was called Poor Estate Farm. On a 1985 map the name had changed to Charity Farm. When the owner of Poor Estate Farm died  he left the farm and all the proceeds to local charities. There is now a charity called the Miles Hurman Charity. This charity supports local people in the village who are in need.

charityFarm-webAshcott is a village in Sedgmoor District. We are working with the Miles and Hurman Trust, a local charity, to develop affordable homes and other benefits for local people. 85% of voters agreed that the Charity’s land could be used for development – this will mean 9 new affordable homes for local people on land bequeathed to the Trust nearly 300 years ago.

Welcome to 5 new CLTs: Yarcombe, the Seavingtons, Pill, South Petherton and Marshfield

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Pill and Marshfield are the first CLTs in North Somerset and South Gloucestershire respectively. Yarcombe, South Petherton and the Seavingtons’ CLT add to those with homes now complete in East Devon and South Somerset. All are now incorporated as Community Benefit Societies and progressing well with the search for a site. Most of the CLTs supported by Wessex opt to become a Community Benefit Society; it’s a legal form which provides for local leadership and ensures that assets will only be ever used for community benefit. It is also flexible enough to enable CLTs to take on other assets – such as shops and pubs – which are important to the community. Congratulations to all five CLTs on their incorporation.

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Community Land Trusts on BBC’s Countryfile

 

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Christow Community Land Trust featured on BBC’s Countryfile in July. At the time of filming, Christow CLT and Teign Housing were nearing completion of 18 affordable homes in the Dartmoor National Park. Viewers were able to follow Mat, Sophie and their family on their move from one bedroom in a family member’s house to an affordable eco-home in the village they are connected to, and see how a Community Land Trust helped that to happen. Watch again for a limited time here. Mat, Sophie and their children have now moved into their new home.

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Corry Valley CLT First Anniversary

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Corry Valley CLT, based in Dalwood, East Devon, worked in partnership with Yarlington Housing Group to build six affordable homes for local people in the village. These homes have now been occupied for a year. Corry Valley CLT was a scheme in the first programme of WCLTP supported projects. The CLT and Housing Association celebrated with the official opening of the scheme at the end of June.

Government Funding for Community Led Housing

In the last budget the Government announced £60million per year would be allocated to support community led housing projects. We are hoping that this funding will be available to CLTs shortly following an announcement in September. WCLTP along with partners at the National CLT Network and BSHF (Building and Social Housing Foundation) have been providing information to the Government to help shape their plans. We hope that this will be a new, useful, funding stream to support community led housing and enable more communities to deliver on their ambitions – see below where purple is complete; red is ‘in progress’; and brown is where we think new projects might emerge.

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