Boost of support given to community building projects
On Wednesday 4 June the Community Land Trust (CLT) sector will receive a significant investment to kick start a major scaling-up of its impact on the UK housing market. An event in the House of Commons will officially launch a new national charity for the CLT movement, the National CLT Network, and three funding and resource programmes worth almost £3 million to support the establishment of new CLTs in communities across the country.
The National CLT Network supports communities to take collective action to challenge the way we normally supply housing in England and Wales, and to deliver permanently affordable homes for their community. Community Land Trusts are local voluntary organisations which provide housing and other assets to meet the needs of their community. By acquiring land and holding it in perpetuity, the CLT enables the local community to permanently lock in the value of the land, any rise in value and any profit it generates, keeping housing permanently affordable and generating a long-term income stream for the community. Because CLTs are owned and governed by local people, they are a powerful example of local democracy in house-building, and are at the forefront of citizens’ movement to set their own agenda for their communities.
The sector has more than doubled in size in the last two years and today there are over 170 communities in England and Wales which have formed a CLT. The launch of significant new investment and an independent national charity for the sector represents a landmark moment for this social phenomenon.
The National CLT Network was informally established in September 2010 and has been incubated for 3.5 years by the National Housing Federation, the trade body for housing associations in England.
The Parliamentary reception will celebrate the launch of three major new funding programmes and resources for new CLTs:
Two new funding programmes worth over £2.5 million in total, the CLT Start Up Fund and CLT Social Investment Fund, will support the formation of new CLTs from the first spark of an idea in a community through to the development of homes on the ground. The funds will offer a mix of grant and loan finance, to support the set-up of new CLTs, technical costs to achieve planning permission and development capital.
An Urban CLT Project will offer over £300,000 to support the establishment of CLTs in urban areas.
A new CLT Social Impact Tool, developed by the University of Salford, will provide evidence of the additional social, economic and cultural value that CLTs add to their communities.
Nick Boles MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Planning, offered his support to the CLT movement:
“Community Land Trusts offer people the chance to create affordable housing for local people and to retain it within the community. That is why we are very keen to encourage more communities to set up Community Land Trusts.”
Rory Stewart OBE MP, who is sponsoring the Parliamentary launch said:
“I completely support the excellent work of both the National CLT Network and, closer to my own home, the Cumbria Rural Housing Trust, which have done an incredible job in increasing the number of Community Land Trusts in the UK, and helping to get community-led affordable housing projects off the ground. We have living examples here in Penrith and The Border, showing just how effective these mechanisms can be, and government needs to do all it can to support this growth, and harness it as a force for tangible change in our communities.”
David Graham MBE, Chair of the National CLT Network said:
“As a society, we need to think again about how we approach housing. There is no real space for the consumer, which makes housing pretty unique amongst all the other major product markets. CLTs are a really powerful challenge to the way we’ve always done things and a massive opportunity for us as a society. There is no other model which offers such potential to create housing which is genuinely affordable and will remain so. The success of CLTs in England and Wales in the last few years demonstrates that when influence over housing development is put back in the hands of local people, they create something truly innovative. We want to see CLTs play a really key part in how we deliver new housing in England and Wales. We want to see community led housing becoming mainstream. The new resources we are launching on 4 June are a really key ingredient to get us there.”