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What people say

A selection of comments from CLT Volunteers

From a social equality point of view...

.... I just like things to be fair, I don’t like the fact that people are disadvantaged and I don’t want to see the fact that money speaks for everything. So an opportunity to perhaps provide something or help to provide something in perpetuity that can help, sort of, to balance out some of those inequalities, was the main driving force.

Christow CLT Volunteer

At the most basic level...

.... there are members of the CLT who I did not know previously, so I now know them, you know, and I have a social contact with them, and that is community-building.

Norton-sub-Hamdon CLT Volunteer

I think people are very supportive of...

.... affordable housing and therefore have not thought or needed to think that there might be other ways in which … I don’t think many people realise how unique and independent the CLT institution is for the long-term.

Powerstock & District CLT Volunteer

Obviously I’m interested in the CLT, because...

.... there obviously is a lack of affordable housing. This valley is a very expensive place to live. Housing is ridiculously expensive. It’s become a sought-after area, so people on lower incomes find it very difficult to find accommodation. So I think there was a real need, or there is a real need, for affordable housing full stop.

Christow CLT Volunteer

It’s an elderly village, so...

.... they all sort of pass on, shall we say, and we get new people in. But it’s mostly the big houses, they’re quite expensive houses, so by definition they will be older people who have them and that’s why the affordable housing has been so good, really, to bring the young ones in. Otherwise, it’s an old village really.

Norton-Sub-Hamdon CLT Volunteer

I just think if you don’t have something...

.... like this then there won’t be a good mix of people. You need the mix of people to keep a village viable really. You can have the village, but it wouldn’t be a proper village would it, if you don’t have different ages and, not being funny, but different incomes, everything really.

Norton-sub-Hamdon CLT Volunteer

I’m a huge believer in involving...

.... the entire community in decision-making processes, not leaving it to one or two people to sort of run the whole damned thing. And here there are, I would think there’s 50 or 60 people in this village who really put in quite a lot of time into various enterprises, it’s really remarkable.

Christow CLT Volunteer

Very much in both formal and...

.... informal ways. A lot of people stop all of us and say “what’s happening with it, how’s it going?” You talk to them about it, you discuss, they ask you lots of questions, it has been the focus of conversation in the village for the last two or three years I suppose. But also formally, we have held a number of meetings that have been reasonably attended and the plans are all laid out and we have listened very hard to what people have said about design, about everything else really, and the positioning and how it all works. We’ve been able to explain why the houses have to be as they are in order to achieve Passivhaus status. And people have accepted that quite well once it’s explained properly by someone they trust.

Christow CLT Volunteer

I’m not a great one for believing...

.... that people have something done at them, you know, I’d much rather think that you know the community guides things. But I think sometimes the community operates better within a broad structure, and this seemed to offer the best of both worlds. It seemed to say the community can head this up, it can be a powerful force here, but there is a recognised structure within which you can do this, and I find that quite attractive really.

Upper Culm CLT Volunteer

I’ve got lots of time...

.... you know, I’m time-rich, and so I’m able to give that time to community schemes and enjoy doing it. I thoroughly enjoy doing it.

Toller Porcorum CLT Volunteer

Well, the shop is the centre of the social life...

.... it’s the hub of the village really, like the pub and school. I think if you lose that – because there is a Post Office as well – so I think if you lose that then something will go, you see.

Norton-sub-Hamdon CLT Volunteer

If the village shop went bust...

.... then obviously we would look to take it on, but I don’t think any of us would want to run a shop. But there would be people in the village who would run the shop and have to be under the auspices of the CLT. It’s not necessary for the directors themselves to be the agents of change in other areas. Hopefully the CLT will evolve and move forwards and come up with other things.

Christow CLT Volunteer

We hope to have made it possible for local people...

.... to actually stay, if they wish to do so, to stay within their community. Because a lot of the people that we know are on the housing register and – we know this through word of mouth – are sleeping on their parents’ floors and all this kind of thing, you know. They have one room in their parents’ home and can’t start their family or, if they’ve got a family, it’s very difficult for everybody. So, when we see people that we know are having problems are getting housed, knowing that we’ve been a catalyst for that, that’d be a great satisfaction.

Christow CLT Volunteer

There’s certainly been more housing built...

.... only a very small percentage of which is affordable. My perception is that there are more youngsters growing up from village families who can’t stay in the village. I also feel that the age profile of the village is getting older. I think it is becoming an older population and what people on the CLT and others in the village desperately want to do is to keep the mix, we want to continue to be diverse in every way.

Christow CLT Volunteer

Local amenities, shops, all closing...

.... So there’s, you know, a reduction in the amount of services. There used to be three village shops, or four I think, effectively there’s one now. It’s still vibrant, still productive and active, but just that I would imagine it’s fairly typical demographic social change. Because it’s a National Park … you’re talking about gentrification in parts of the estates in towns [and] exactly the same thing is happening, whereby I guess local people who are on lower incomes aren’t able to find the housing that they need, particularly rented housing.

Christow CLT Volunteer

They’re local aren’t they...

.... you know. If there’s any problem I expect they will come to us about it rather than go to the housing association, but, I think it does make a difference if it is local. Keeps it more personal really, gives you an interest doesn’t it, a personal interest if it’s people you know who are on the CLT. Otherwise if it was, sort of, just run by the Somerset District Council, you wouldn’t have any interest at all really, would you?

Norton-Sub-Hamdon CLT Volunteer

The CLT is actually protecting the...

.... environment that makes the village work. I think they are going to be that sort of, in a way a Parish Council can’t be or in fact no other organisation really can be, that defender of the rights of the community, in whatever sense that may be. So, yeah, wherever the next attack comes from, and you can never be too sure, then I think the CLT needs to be there as the vehicle that will maintain the community. It’s about accepting rights and responsibilities from the bottom-up.

Christow CLT Volunteer

What Housing Associations and District Councils say

Initially I could not see what the involvement of a CLT could offer...

.... that a responsible housing association with a track record of delivering housing in a rural setting could not. However, experience shows that the involvement of a local CLT brokers a lot which otherwise might have taken longer for the ‘traditional’ route to navigate, not least the opposition to development plans arising from certain parts of the community itself.

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. There is always local opposition to any development but CLT involvement does reduce this by a significant margin.

In general we believe that the involvement of a CLT has speeded up the planning and development process. It is difficult to quantify this, but based on the pilot projects we estimate that they have been delivered at least 30 per cent earlier than projects led by us alone.


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