Community Land Trusts (CLTs) represent a new way of doing things. They are being set up across the country to help provide affordable homes and services for local people. By forming a partnership with a Housing Association, the CLT can lead a housing project and generate a long-term income whilst being protected from the risks involved. The community then has a financially viable Trust able to take on future projects for the benefit of that community. The main features about this new way of doing things are:
Land ownership — The CLT can secure the housing site in perpetuity for the community (with an option to take on full ownership of the properties from the Housing Association should the CLT ever wish to do so). The CLT will enter into a long term lease with the Housing Association and have an influence over important things like layout, design and occupancy.
Affordable homes for local people — Those with a strong local connection – through living or working in the parish, or having family there – have priority for the housing. This is enshrined in a legally binding agreement between the Community Land Trust, the Housing Association and the district council.
Access to grant funding — The creation of a CLT enables government grants to be obtained for community-led housing schemes.
Financial viability — The CLT obtains an income from ground rents sufficient to cover its running costs and provide a small income for other projects. The Trust is therefore financially sustainable.
Potential for other projects — The priority is land for affordable housing, in our case using the current housing needs survey to establish the number and mix of types. However, the scope of the Trust provides a vehicle for it to own, develop and protect other property and land if that is what the community wants.
Democratic — The Trust is a democratic organisation with membership open to anyone supporting its objectives.