Plan proposed to tackle Colyton’s affordable homes challenge

21 May 2021

THE drive to provide much needed affordable homes for local young people and families in Colyton and Colyford is being held back by a serious shortage of suitable sites.

In a statement today the Board of the Colyton and Colyford Community Land Trust (CCCLT) set out a plan to enable the town to move forward on one of its most difficult issues. The statement is as follows:

“The problem of satisfying the local need for affordable housing is one that won’t go away and indeed is likely to become more pressing. There are young people in our parish who currently have little hope of being able to live long term in the community where they have grown up. Spiralling local property prices make it impossible for them to get on the housing ladder – we as a community have to help them.

“The last available Local Housing Needs Survey in 2017 identified a need for some 36 affordable homes. While some of those people will have subsequently found homes, it is likely that the overall need may actually have increased. The new housing development on the former CeramTec industrial site should provide 14 affordable homes, some for rent and some for shared ownership. The Trust is already in discussions with the developer, WainHomes South West, and is hoping it will be possible for the Trust to take on the long term ownership of the affordable rented element so that it can ensure that local people are prioritised when they are let.”

The Trust’s proposed plan to move forward is as follows:

  • A new Local Needs Housing Survey – we hope East Devon District Council will support this for 2022
  • A small working group made up of members of the Trust and Parish Council to specifically address the issue of suitable sites
  • A wider community debate to consider the conclusions from that working group.

The Trusts’s statement adds: “The solutions will require a sustained effort in which we will need active support from both the parish and district councils plus involvement from land owners. Sites have to be found and permissions have to be achieved. Above all, we need both the interest and support of the wider community – without it our prospects for success are limited.

“It was Colyton Parish Council that in 2018 initiated the setting up of a Community Land Trust to help address the affordable housing challenge in the parish. We we now need the council’s active involvement to help us tackle the obstacles we face going forward.”

The existing Seaway Head affordable homes development opened in 2010

The CCCLT board has already considered some 20 sites and is still evaluating one of them. Known as Lewis Haye, it adjoins the existing Seaway Head affordable homes development, which was supported by the Parish Council when it was built in 2010. The adjoining land is now being considered for up to 12 affordable homes in one small part of the site, with the remainder being given over to community open space and woodland, created and managed by the CLT as part of its overall vision.

Says the Trust’s statement: “We are still awaiting professional advice on the suitability of that site before making a decision on whether to finalise feasibility work and engage with the community on any proposals. In the meantime, we need to continue to identify and investigate further potential sites. Brownfield sites (those which have previously been developed) within the Built Up Area Boundary are few in number and their commercial market value tends to preclude purchase for affordable homes.”

The Trust is keen to further involve the community in the next stage including:

  • Suggestions for sites – all suggestions and offers will be treated in strictest confidence
  • Joining the Trust, which costs as little as £1 – information here: https://candcclt.co.uk/contact-join
  • We encourage everyone who thinks they are or may be in need of an affordable home to register with Devon Homechoice.

Ends

Footnote: The CCCLT Board is run by local volunteers, elected by their members and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. The Colyton and Colyford Community Land Trust is registered as a Community Benefit Society, which means it has clear objectives and is run and managed by its members for the benefit of the community as a whole. Such Trusts act as long–term stewards of affordable housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable for local people, not just now but for future generations.

The Trust draws on professional advice from Middlemarch CLH, which provides technical support to Community Housing Organisations across Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Middlemarch is a not-for-profit community interest company. Middlemarch has supported more than 50 Community Land Trusts, and completed over 20 housing schemes with 60 more in progress. In total, it has some 700 homes completed or in progress, most of which have been through partnerships with Community Land Trusts.

 

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