The residents of Chagford took another step forward to leading development in their town last night, as a community meeting voted in favour of forming a ‘Community Land Trust’ (CLT). I thought I’d share my musings on this relatively new approach, which is gathering momentum as a way of empowering local communities and bringing forward affordable housing.
A CLT is “a non-profit, community-based organisation run by volunteers that develops housing or other assets at permanently affordable levels for long-term community benefit” (find out more from the National CLT Network). CLTs are a way for communities to get involved in the development of affordable housing, giving them control of a local asset and potentially the opportunity to manage other community services as they grow in confidence.
This isn’t our first CLT in the National Park, with one at Christow working with Teign Housing and about to bring a planning application forward any day now, with the support of the same organisation – the Wessex CLT Project. At Chagford, however the CLT is looking to get involved in potential period of growth in the town, as the site at Bretteville comes forward through a masterplan (see previous planner’s blog) and another site is identified in the local plan for affordable housing at Lamb Park.
So how will this work? Well firstly the CLT wants to focus on affordable housing as their first task (they could venture into supporting all kinds of community assets in future). The CLT will see whether there is an opportunity to become involved in the delivery of either of the two housing sites in the town, and potentially work with a housing association to bring this forward.
The National Park Authority will require that affordable housing is provided through the development of both of the sites in Chagford. Importantly, we will want to see development coming forward only as and when there is an identified local need for the affordable housing – there is a need in Chagford at the moment, but if too much comes forward in one go there will not be enough local people to move in. This is after all a 15 year local plan!
So what does the CLT do next? They’re holding the first meeting of their Steering Group at the end of May. They have the Wessex CLT Project to help them along, perhaps starting with a conversation with landowners and developers, to see whether they can get involved.
Watch this space and good luck Chagford taking this forward!