Gittisham Community Land Trust

What is a Community Land Trust?

Community Land Trusts (CLT) are a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable.

How do local people get involved?
Join us and support us. Membership is open to anyone living and working in the community  who supports the aims of the CLT. Members can stand for and vote to elect the board. You can become a member by buying a share or shares at  £1 each and will receive a share certificate.  Irrespective of the number of shares you hold you only have one vote. The members contribute to and support the Board in managing the CLT (usually through a board being elected from the membership).

Who is on the Board and how are they appointed?
Currently the Board is made up of people from the community who have shown an interest in taking the project forward and have volunteered to get the CLT underway. However, within six months of the CLT being formed a Special General Meeting must be held. This meeting is being held 21st March 2019 where the existing Board will stand down and are then re-elected or new Board members elected by the membership. This elected Board will replace the interim Board.

Where is the Board getting advice from?
The CLT are being supported by Wessex CLT Project, (WCLTP)  an organisation who provide technical advice and support to CLT groups. They have over 45 groups with whom they are working using a partnership approach of working with a Housing Association (HA) to deliver homes for local people.

What does this support cost?
As a condition of its original seed-corn grant,  WCLTP recovers its costs at  [£3000 per home +VAT] from successful projects.  Where projects are procured through partnerships, cost recovery is through the HA  (as the party with the capital funding).  It therefore costs the CLT nothing.

What are the proposals?
The proposal is to develop a site for 6 affordable homes for rent in perpetuity. Initial ideas are for a mix of two and three bedroom homes let at an affordable rent.
Once a site is found Heads of Terms are agreed in principle with the Landowner. The Heads of Terms are not legally binding in themselves but set out how and on what basis the land can be disposed of to the CLT. Once Heads of Terms are in place the CLT Board will come back to the Community with its recommendation for the preferred site and seek community support to proceed. If support is forthcoming the CLT will then look to work up the proposals for the housing project in detail in order to come back to the community and seek support to progress to submission of a planning application. The CLT will employ consultants to help them design the scheme and prepare the planning application.

Who will pay for this?
It will be paid for by using monies from the Community Housing Fund. This is a Government initiative first launched in 2016 to support communities to bring forward affordable housing by through a Community Land Trust. Councils in areas of high cost home ownership or second home ownership were awarded sums from this fund to help communities to bring forward local homes for local people. East Devon District Council were awarded £765,508. Homes England is the national housing and regeneration agency for England. It is the regulator of social housing providers and works with local partners to create new affordable homes and thriving neighbourhoods. This organisation now administers further Community Housing Funds announced in 2018 for these types of project and Housing Associations also bring their own funding to bear where needed.

Who submits the planning application?
As a community-led organisation, CLTs can apply for grants to carry out feasibility work and make planning applications. This grant is used by CLTs to appoint architects, surveyors, engineers, ecologists etc and to meet planning fees; all helping to ensure that the design of the homes has the community’s support.

What type of housing is being planned?
The proposal is to develop 6 affordable homes for rent, being a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom homes. These homes will be designed to be in keeping with existing homes in the area. The design and layout of the homes will be subject to planning approval.

Has the development been approved?
There is NO scheme as yet and NO site agreed hence nothing has been approved.

How does the CLT pay for the land (freehold)?
Normally the CLT’s housing association partner pays for the land by entering into a long-term lease with the landowner; the landowner then transfers the freehold to the CLT for £1. This means that, without having to fund-raise, the CLT becomes the freeholder; in other words, the ‘landlord’ to the housing association’s ‘tenant’. These transactions are formalised in an Option Agreement which is signed by the CLT, HA and landowner before a planning application is submitted.

Who will build and manage the housing?
Once terms are agreed with a Landowner to dispose of a site to GCLT is in place, the CLT will select a Housing Association partner to work with. When planning consent is obtained the Housing Association will undertake to build and manage the homes. The CLT will take Ground Rent for each of the homes. This is currently at a rate of £4pw per home. Money from the ground rent can be used for other community projects supported by the CLT.

How does the CCLT identify a Housing Association partner?
Some HAs are interested and experienced in working with CLTs; others aren’t. The Wessex CLT Project has worked with several HAs on over 40 CLT projects since 2010 and more HAs are now working with them. There is a formal selection process involving an objective evaluation and the HA is selected which best suits the objectives of the CLT.

When will the houses be available?
This is dependent on when a planning application is submitted and when Planning Consent is obtained. If a Planning application were able to be submitted in say March 2020 and approval received in early July, then homes could become available in Autumn 2021.

Who will be eligible for the houses?
To be eligible, applicants must be registered on the Council’s housing register.  This verifies their legitimate need for affordable housing. A Local Letting Plan has already been agreed in principle between the CLT and the Council that will be used to inform and prioritise eligible applicants from the Housing Register with a verifiable local connection.

How will the prioritisation be managed?
The Housing Association will fund, build and deliver the homes and manage the allocations process and subsequent tenancies. Allocations will be made in accordance with the agreed Allocations Plan.