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Government recognises communities as new force in housing
Sunday, 20 March 2016 11:43

National CLT Network

In Wednesday’s Budget the Chancellor recognised the vital contribution that communities are making to address the housing crisis.

Thousands of volunteers across the country are setting up Community Land Trusts to build affordable homes for local people in rural, coastal and urban areas hard hit by the housing crisis.

The Government yesterday announced that £60 million of the receipts from the higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax on additional residential properties being introduced next month will be used to fund Community Land Trust and community-led housing developments in rural and coastal communities where the impact of second homes is particularly acute.

This measure has been welcomed by the National CLT Network, the national charity for Community Land Trusts in England and Wales.

Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville MBE, Chair of the National CLT Network said:

“We are delighted that Community Land Trusts are being recognised for their hard work in providing homes where they are needed most. The CLT movement has grown rapidly over the last 5 years as more and more communities have witnessed the impact of the housing crisis. There are now 175 CLTs and 3000 new affordable homes will have been developed by CLTs by 2020. The measure announced in the Budget could see that figure triple, ensuring a proper and rightful place for community-led housing as part of the answer to the housing crisis. This is a great outcome for the months of persistent lobbying by my team, since the General Election.”

Catherine Harrington, Director of the National CLT Network, added:

“We welcome this measure and are already in discussions with officials at the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Homes and Communities Agency on how this new programme can be best delivered, working with the wider community-led housing sector. Our best chance of success is if we create a programme that is flexible and allows for the right housing to meet local need. We will continue discussions with officials over the coming weeks.”

£20 million of the funding will go to CLTs and community-led housing in the South West.

The Chancellor in his speech yesterday singled out the Cornwall MP, Sarah Newton, for her support of local CLT initiatives.

Loic Rich, member of Truro CLT in Sarah Newton MP’s constituency said:

“Truro has the second highest level of commuting in and out of the city, after London. Too many local workers are living in poor quality and insecure rented accommodation. We’re turning that around by setting up a CLT to build quality rented housing that is actually affordable to people on local wages. We welcome the measure and the support we’ve had from our local MP.”

Geoff Pook, Chair of a CLT in Beer, a coastal village also in the South West, commented:

“The £60m funding for rural and coastal CLTs is very positive news. Making housing affordable to young people who have grown up and work in a place like Beer is essential if we are going to achieve a cohesive and sustainable community. Whilst second home owners bring many benefits to communities, in Beer it has taken standard family housing out of reach of the very people that we need to keep our village alive.”

This new funding will help rural and coastal communities across the country, including urban coastal communities.

Jess Steele OBE, Project Coordinator Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust, said:

"Hastings has always been an affordable place to live and that has created a fabulous, diverse, indeed quite eccentric community. That’s now under serious threat from rising rents and house prices. Community-led housing - bringing existing properties into community freehold and tackling difficult sites - is a crucial tool to protect what is special about Hastings in the long term so we welcome the funding announced in the Budget to support this work in coastal towns."

Stephen Hill, an adviser to CLTs nationwide, including Urban CLTs like Hastings, also welcomed the Budget proposal:

“Over the last two years, we have been supporting a number of coastal towns to develop CLTs, as part of the National CLT Network’s Urban CLT Project. Communities in Hastings, Brighton, and Truro have their own unique challenges, but all represent citizens who feel under threat, and who see CLTs as a vital step in reclaiming their city or town, working closely with their council to do the things that neither can do on their own. We had other coastal towns that we could not help through our programme. This extra political and financial support will make a big difference for them. CLTs are being given an extraordinary responsibility: they are no longer ‘small and beautiful’ but are in fact ‘small and powerful’.”

Read more about Shared Ownership schemes
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 08:38

Lewes CLTAt today's CLT Relaunch meeting - 7:30 pm on Wednesday 2nd March at St Johns-sub-Castro Church, Lewes - the CLT team will be talking about its affordable housing Scheme for the North Street Quarter development. You can read more about the general issue of what the Government is doing to help Shared Ownership and other affordable housing schemes on the Help to Buy East & South East website.

Do come along and join in.

Land Trust on Love Lewes Podcast!
Saturday, 27 February 2016 07:37

Pru RowntreePru Rowntree, Chair of Lewes Community Land Trust, is one of this month’s guests on the March 2016 Love Lewes podcast.

Listen to what Pru has to say by clicking here.

The Love Lewes podcast for March 2016 is hosted by Mark Bridge, who takes a look at forthcoming local events and introduces two guests:

  • Alex Marcovitch runs catering business Kabak. His food is for sale at the weekly Friday Food Market in the Market Tower.
  • Pru Rowntree is Chair of Lewes Community Land Trust, which is working to provide more affordable housing in the town. The group has been awarded new funding and is relaunching at a public meeting in St John-sub-Castro church, at 7:30 pm on Wednesday 2nd March 2016.

You can listen to the programme on the Love Lewes website audio player or download the MP3 file directly.

The programme was recorded in the Chic Shed at Laporte’s Cafe on Lansdown Road.

Public Meeting Wednesday 2nd March 2016
Thursday, 25 February 2016 13:09

I'd like to remind everyone we’re holding a public meeting for all who are interested in our proposed affordable housing scheme on the North Street Quarter development. The exact shape of the scheme is still to be finalised, so I would welcome your views and comments.

The meeting takes place in St Johns-sub-Castro Church at 7:30pm on Wednesday 2nd March 2016. Please tell your friends.

I’d also like to ask you to sign up to our mailing list so we can keep you up-to-date with regular newsletters and, if you can, please make a donation to help us cover our administrative costs. You can do this by visiting our website (//www.lewesclt.org/) where you'll find the mailing list subscription and donation buttons on the home page.

Many thanks and look forward to seeing you next Wednesday. All the team will be there to welcome you.

Pru Rowntree, Chair Lewes Community Land Trust

Pru Rowntree

Lewes CLT Relaunch Meeting 7:30 pm Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at St John-sub-Castro Church
Wednesday, 02 March 2016, 07:30pm

Pru Rowntree, Chair Lewes CLTLewes Community Land Trust has been awarded a £10,000 grant by the national Community Land Trust Urban Fund to develop the capacity to organise a Lewes solution to the deepening housing affordability crisis. The grant will be used to fund legal fees, community engagement, business planning, and support in negotiating with local authorities.

Following this award, Lewes Community Land Trust is actively renewing contact with its supporters and invites them and others in the community to join or rejoin the membership scheme.

We invite you to a relaunch meeting at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at St John-sub-Castro Church, Abinger Place, Lewes.

We are also asking volunteers to come forward to act as trustees.

Location : St John-sub-Castro Church, Abinger Place, Lewes
Contact : Ros Brewer  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Lewes CLT relaunch to address local housing crisis
Thursday, 04 February 2016 09:41

Lewes Community Land Trust has obtained a £10,000 grant by the CLT Urban Fund to develop the capacity to organise a Lewes solution to the deepening housing affordability crisis. It is one of 20 grants made by the Urban CLT Project which is funded by the Oak Foundation. The grant is designed to enable Lewes CLT to find “their own solutions to deepening housing affordability problems or to take back control of the regeneration of their neighbourhood.” The great expansion of the CLT movement has been slower in towns and cities “where challenges have been found to be more complex”.

“It’s a great honour for Lewes CLT to have been selected“, said John Stockdale the trustee in charge of fundraising. “The grant will be used to fund legal fees, community engagement, business planning, and support in negotiating with local authorities. In addition, we will be asked to help other groups set up CLTs and mentor them.

“The CLT will now start renewing contact with its supporters and inviting them and others in the community to join or rejoin the membership scheme. “We plan to call a public meeting on 1 March (N.B. now scheduled for 2nd March 2016)”, said Ros Brewer, the Company Secretary. “We are also asking volunteers to come forward to act as trustees. We are especially looking for local people who have expertise in the following areas: finance, construction and development, asset management and board management at a senior level. If you are interested please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ”.

Lewes CLT people

Ros Brewer, Pru Rowntree & John Stockdale of Lewes Community Land Trust with Tom Warder of Action in Rural Sussex on the North Street Quarter site.

Santon-LDC planning application approved!
Thursday, 10 December 2015 17:05

North Street QuarterAt a lengthy South Downs National Park Planning Committee meeting today (Thursday 10th December 2015) the committee unanimously voted to approve the Santon-LDC planning application subject to a number of conditions being met and this work has now been delegated to the SDNPA’s Director of Planning Tim Slaney in conjunction with the Chair of Planning Neville Harrison.

The application was a full planning application (Phase 1) for the demolition of existing buildings, provision of infrastructure, construction of access off Phoenix Causeway and associated highway improvements, flood defences, erection of new buildings of up to 4 storeys, comprising 243 residential units (Class C3) [including 51 extra care units (Class C2/C3)]; 4185m2 (Class B1 and A1, A2, A3, A4 and D2 uses) flexible work space including creative community space, assembly and leisure uses and restaurant; Class D1 medical and health services [Health Hub including pharmacy]; creation of areas of public realm, cycle and car parking provision, including public parking, riverside pedestrian route, footbridge over the River Ouse and associated landscaping.

There was also an outline application (Phases 2 & 3) for the demolition of existing buildings, construction of flood defences, provision of infrastructure, enhancements to recreational facilities at Malling Fields and Pells Park, the erection of new buildings of up to 3 storeys comprising up to 173 residential units (Class C3) with details relating to access, layout and scale for approval and details relating to appearance and landscaping reserved for subsequent approval.

The committee members present were David Coldwell, Neville Harrison (Chair), Barbara Holyome, Doug Jones, Tom Jones, Gary Marsh, Robert Mocatta & Ian Phillips.

Margaret Paren, Chair of the South Downs National Park Authority, said “This is a major application which our planning committee has considered in detail – listening closely to all viewpoints. We recognise that our decision won’t be universally welcomed but we believe that it offers the best possible use of this brownfield site for the future of Lewes and the people who live here, including much-needed flood defences and drainage for the whole town and space for recreational facilities.”

Click here to read what Santon and LDC have to say about it.

SDNPA Planning Committee Meeting 10th Dec 2015
Friday, 04 December 2015 09:53

SDNPA logoThe South Downs National Park Planning Committee meets on Thursday 10th December 2015 to discuss the LDC/Santon Planning Application for North Street, Lewes. Tim Slaney, the SDNPA Director of Planning, recommends approval. Read his report by clicking here.


Lewes CLT to provide 15 shared equity homes as Affordable Housing
Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:22

Lewes Community Land Trust, Santon and Lewes District Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Lewes Community Land Trust to deliver 15 shared equity homes on the North Street Quarter.

“This is an innovative opportunity to get a Lewes family started on the property ladder when house prices would otherwise be unaffordable,“ said Pru Rowntree, Chair of the Trust. “Owners will pay around 50% of the price to live in 100% of the house. When they sell, they get back their share of the sale price, the equity returns to the Trust and the house is recycled to the next families on the list.”

The project is for 2 and 3 bedroom houses within the affordable housing component of the development. “The homes will be available to young families who qualify for the Council housing register and whose incomes are not sufficient for them to buy at market prices locally.” continued Pru. “The families must be in ‘housing need’ to qualify for nomination to affordable housing units. Access to the properties will prioritise those with a genuine connection to Lewes town. “

Lewes Community Land Trust will retain up to half of the equity of the homes in perpetuity. The Trust will be able to buy back properties and roll the scheme over to new buyers when the original buyers want to move on. Buyers will purchase up to half the equity in their property.

“There will be an option for buyers to further reduce costs by fitting out the building themselves to save costs. This would also let them personalise their homes and build a sense of pride in the neighbourhood, “ said John Stockdale, the trustee project-managing the Scheme.

“A pricing formula will be agreed, but we can’t be sure of the details until planning permission has been given, we know what Government grants will be available and we have confirmed building costs.“

All of these houses will be built to a very high eco standard, saving fuel costs as well as the planet. The houses are designed to be extendable by building bedrooms within the attic spaces, as is typical of Lewes, so that 2 bedroom homes become 3 bedroom houses etc. They will, like the rest of the development, be built to "life-time" homes standards. So, these homes will be future proofed in that they can be expanded as the family enlarges and they can be adapted if occupants become disabled and as they age.

People with a strong Lewes connection will be prioritised in the housing allocation policy which will be agreed with LDC’s Housing Department. ‘Affordability’ in the context of this shared equity scheme will be defined by a formula relating the mortgage a family on the median income in the District can afford to raise to the percentage of the equity they acquire in the property – and this will apply in perpetuity.

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