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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’.”

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