What is a Community Land Trust?
A Community Land Trust or CLT as it is commonly known, is a Community Interest Company (CIC). A CLT is now a preferred government vehicle for the development of affordable housing which can:
* Provide permanently affordable home ownership opportunities to families of low and moderate income.
* Offer permanently affordable and life long rental opportunities to those families of low and moderate income who cannot obtain a mortgage
* Manage these affordable homes
* Be the driving force behind community projects You can find more information on CLTs at www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk
What is South Brent CLT doing?
South Brent CLT have been working since 2014 to deliver genuinely affordable homes for the village in perpetuity. After an initial false start, we have identified a suitable site in South Brent and secured the land for our scheme. Following consultation, Dartmoor National Park consider it a suitable location for a ‘Rural Exception Site’. This means that it is land adjoining an existing development which may be used for the development of affordable housing for local people. South Brent CLT members plan to work with a Main Contractor and local professionals to build a community cluster of homes on this site. The homes will be modern in appearance, energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
We have been working very closely with South Hams District Council, AK Architects and Arcadis Project Management to bring the scheme to fruition. To get a clear idea of what wildlife and habitats are present we have employed Tor Ecology, they and our Architects will work to add features and locate the houses to preserve important habitat and enhance the ecology of the site as a whole.
To keep the homes genuinely affordable and to meet RIBA Lifetime Homes standards we have applied for Grant Funding from Homes England, if necessary we may also need to add a small number of Open Market houses to cross subsidise the build and associated extensive infrastructure costs the site requires. Dartmoor National Park have very strict rules on Cross Subsidy, we are working very closely with them to make sure we meet the requirements they set.
How does a CLT home remain affordable in perpetuity for future low to moderate income home buyers?
Community members who help in the building process will obtain equity of their own home in return for the labour they put in building the house. Further equity can be acquired via a mortgage (or a bespoke rent to buy scheme for those members unable to arrange a mortgage). The CLT retains the freehold of the houses and community area which is held in perpetuity. The Section106 set by Dartmoor National Park Authority means that if a CLT home is sold, it must be sold at an affordable house price and purchased by another person / family meeting the original criteria of the scheme.
Why we are doing this?
We believe a vibrant rural community is essential, for the quality of life of those living in the countryside and for the long term economic benefit. Rural villages in Devon, Cornwall and elsewhere are losing their shops, schools, pubs and other businesses as it becomes harder for local people to afford to live in their village and secure an affordable good quality permanent home.
We want to make it easier for those on ordinary or low wages to have a home in the village they come from or work in. It has become harder to obtain a mortgage and the average deposit for a mortgage is increasing.
In addition, climate change and the increasing cost of oil and other fossil fuels will seriously affect people living in the countryside. Building environmentally sustainable homes and harnessing alternative power sources (solar PV) will reduce our reliance on oil and gas, thereby reducing the cost of utility bills for home owners.
Whilst housing association models of social housing provision meet some needs, funds are not available any more to build sufficient homes to meet all requirements. Private developments are becoming more scarce due to the economic climate and the number of affordable houses provided on new sites developed by volume builders is falling. In addition, private rents and ‘affordable’ rents for social housing are increasing every year.
Mortgage repayments or rent to buy payments on a shared ownership self build home will be less, and much more achievable for low to moderate income home owners