Gittisham Community Land Trust June 2021

Welcome to the June 2021 Newsletter

The Story so far

The project has been 11 years in the making. It began with the identification of the housing need by the local community, through the parish plan back in 2010. From these beginnings, the Community Land Trust has now emerged.

An initial CLT steering group began by identifying the housing need within the parish/village of Gittisham. They held several events in 2016, the outcome of which identified a need for 6 affordable houses for the community. The survey helped crystallise the view that affordable housing was needed to serve the village. The GCLT was formally registered as a Community Benefit Society in October 2018.

The GCLT then undertook a site selection process and evaluated four possible sites in the village. The preferred site was identified as the former farm buildings serving Town Farm on Exeter Hill and was subsequently endorsed by the community at a public meeting. In planning policy terms, there is no clear village boundary. The site sits outside the conservation area but it is washed over by the AONB. It is considered a rural exception site due to the local, affordable housing that it would provide for the community. This is supported in the EDDC local plan strategy 27 and through the recently adopted Affordable Housing, Supplementary Planning Document. The site also benefits from a previous planning permission granted in 1999 for offices and storage buildings. Whilst the currently proposed use for the site is very different to the historic approval, many of the same issues of access and landscape impact remain the same.

Discussions with EDDC Housing resulted in a mix of units, 4 x 2 bed and 2 x 3 bed, being agreed to provide the best balance of accommodation for the need identified. Throughout the project, the land owners, the Combe Estate have been entirely supportive of this community project. They have provided the site and will benefit by the provision of 3 serviced plots for estate usage. They have signed a heads of terms agreement for a conditional land purchase with the CLT. They have also asked the community to lead the project as much as is possible and the architects appointed by the CLT are also acting for the estate. This has all helped derive a scheme that has been directed entirely by the needs of the CLT.

The architect’fs (ECA) have been given a clearly defined brief and a ‘eclean’f site. Following numerous meetings on Zoom the project has evolved into a unique scheme that picks up on aspects of the village in terms of layout, materials, setting and scale.

We are now at a stage where we can present a preferred scheme through a public consultation with the community. The details of the preferred scheme will be on display for public viewing and comment in the Village Hall on Friday 11th June 2021 from 3.00pm to 8.00pm. Representatives from the architects, the GCLT, Combe Estate, and our Housing Association partner, will be on hand to answer questions and receive comments. On behalf of the GCLT I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

I anticipate that there will be enquiries about allocation procedures and I will issue more details in the next Newsletter but for the time being here is a very basic summary.

The properties will be allocated through Devon Home Choice. Anyone who wishes to apply for occupancy of one of the dwellings MUST be registered with Devon Home Choice. This process will result in establishing the level of “housing need” that should be allocated to the applicant. Potential applicants are assessed and placed into one of 5 priority bands, ranging from band A (emergency housing need) to band E (no housing need). In addition to “need” applicants will also be required to show that they have a “local connection” to the village and/or parish. A “local connection” is a connection to the “community area” – that is within 1.2 km of St Michaels Church tower as a first priority and to the “adjacent area” which is the rest of the parish and the surrounding parishes (except Honiton town) as a second priority. Within the “local connection” requirement there are also further priorities regarding existing/previous residency or employment within either the community or adjacent areas, e.g.

4.2.1 Persons who have been permanently resident in the “gCommunity Area”h for a continuous period of three years out of the five years immediately prior to the affordable housing being offered to them;

4.2.2 Having his or her place of permanent work (normally regarded as 16 hours or more a week and not including seasonal employment) in the “Community Area” for a continuous period of at least 12 months prior to being offered the affordable dwelling;

4.2.3 Persons who can demonstrate a close family connection to the “Community Area” in that the persons mother, father, son, daughter or sibling has been permanently resident therein for a continuous period of five years immediately prior to the affordable dwelling being offered to them and where there is independent evidence of a caring dependency relationship.

4.2.4 Being formerly permanently a resident in the “Community Area” for a continuous period of five years at some time in the past.

The picture can appear complex and this is a very general summary. It will be formalised in a Housing Allocation Plan which will be endorsed through the Section 106 Agreement which will be attached to the planning permission.

David Valentine

Company Secretary:
Helen Hayman, Gittisham Farm, GITTISHAM. EX14 3AX