CLT March 2020

Welcome to the March 2020 GCLT newsletter

The following is the Chairman’s Report which will be reported to AGM on Thursday 19th March at 7.30 pm.

Chairman’s Report

In October last year the GCLT Board celebrated its first year of Board activity since being registered with the Financial Conduct Authority as a Community Benefit Society. The registration with the FCA was followed in March by a Special General Meeting which formally appointed the GCLT Board. The GCLT Board has met frequently and attendance has been very good. We have been given full support by Jay Lambe from Wessex CLT Project and Janice Alexander from Devon Communities Together.

It has been a busy period and I would like to thank the Board Directors and our advisers for their hard work and support during the past year.

So what have we achieved – well, we have completed all the legal formalities necessary with the formulation of a CLT, undertaken negotiations with the Combe Estate regarding the identification of a preferred site, this is the former agricultural buildings at Town Farm, and agreed Heads of Terms with Combe Estate for the sale of the site to the GCLT. At a well attended public meeting in May we gained endorsement of the preferred site from the village community. In October we held a housing need “gdrop in”h event to re-establish the level of affordable housing need in the village. In November we successfully submitted a start-up revenue grant application to East Devon District Council and subsequently in December we successfully applied for a second stage grant.

The identification and subsequent endorsement by the community of the preferred site was a key event in the year which provided confidence and momentum for the CLT Board.

The “drop in” event held on 10th October focused on revisiting the key area of understanding the level of housing need within the village and its surrounding area. A number of households came along and were able to have a discussion with Janice Alexander from Devon Communities Together. The results confirmed that the affordable housing need of 6 units previously identified 3 years ago, continues to be the case. This result provided a further confidence boost for the Board and together with the successful grant applications the Board has been able to progress with the appointment of solicitors and accountants to act on behalf of the CLT.

In order for the Board to progress with the appointment of a Housing Association (HA) partner – it is the HA that constructs the dwellings – it has been necessary to prepare an Allocation Plan. This has to be agreed with EDDC and the HA and will ultimately become an integral part of the Section 106 Agreement which will accompany the planning permission. Any person who applies for an affordable dwelling must show that they are in Housing Need and that they have a Local Connection. The Allocation Plan sets out the criteria which will be taken into account when allocating the dwellings when they are ready for occupation. All applicants must be registered with Devon Home Choice. The initial priority is to establish an applicant’fs level of need. Once this is established the local connection criteria can then be applied. After careful consideration the Board at its last meeting agreed a draft Allocation Plan which will be submitted to EDDC for consideration after this AGM. There is an item on this agenda which seeks to clarify an aspect of the local connection criteria.

Work has already commenced in preparing documents for issuing to architects and Housing Associations inviting expressions of interest in working in partnership with GCLT. Later this year consultants will be appointed to undertake site investigations and a Project Team will be established which will co-ordinate the day to day progress with the initial objective of submitting a planning application. The Project Team will report back to the CLT Board.

There will be a further public meeting to enable the community to view and comment on designs which come forward for development of the site.

There has been an ongoing positive relationship with the Combe Estate over the past 12 months and their support for this project has been a key factor in achieving the progress made so far.

My final thanks goes to you, the Gittisham community, for your continuing support for this project. This is a community led project and without your support we would not have been able to achieve the progress made over the past 12 months. Thank you.

There is a lot to be done and the prospect of many obstacles to overcome but, on behalf of the GCLT Board, I am confident that we will be able to maintain the momentum currently in place and I look forward to providing a similar positive report in 12 months time.

David Valentine


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