- - - - - -
Sunday, 23 September 2018
  • '

    Helsington CLT, Brigsteer

    Members show their proposed site to representatives of the CLT Fund

  • '

    Lyvennet Community Trust, Crosby Ravensworth

    David Graham with Rory Stewart MP dedicating the time capsule for Stoneworks Garth. Picture by F C Wilson

  • '

    Keswick Community Housing Trust

    Allerdale Borough Council visit to the Hopes scheme

  • '

    Trustees, community members and supporters at the opening of the Hopes scheme

    Picture courtesy of the Keswick Reminder, December 2013.

  • '

    Eco housing at Findhorn, Scotland

Andy Lloyd

A+ R A-

Could a Community Land Trust help your community?

The CLT model appeals because it’s about meeting local need, protecting homes for future generations, keeping communities together and helping employers retain staff. CLTs can also generate surpluses to fund community services and can develop other facilities. Nationally there are now over 170 Community Land Trusts in England and Wales in urban and rural locations represented by the National CLT Network (NCLTN) www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk In Cumbria so far Witherslack, Crosby Ravensworth, Keswick and Skelwith & Langdale have developed 50 community owned homes with 8 more in planning and other groups researching opportunities.

Starting up - CLTs might take off due to concern about the loss of council housing through the Right to Buy, or because community plans, parish needs surveys, or Neighbourhood Plans identify a lack of local affordable housing, or because people think a CLT would be right for their community. www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/what-is-a-clt/why-clts

Rural relevance – A CLT may be able to develop rural affordable homes where it would not make sense for a Housing Association to do so.

Right to Buy – CLTs can avoid the Right to Buy by using different sources of funding or lease arrangements.

Making it easier - There is now a great deal of help available to make the process easier in the form of specialist funding and development support from myself and other CLT advisors.

Recognition - The National Housing Taskforce includes a work stream to increase the supply of new homes via custom and community builders. The Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network has set up a Housing Commission on community-led housing to encourage and enable councils to foster community-led housing, and Yorkshire has established the Enabling Affordable Community Led Housing in North Yorkshire and East Riding initiative. 


What do CLTs do?

  • They enable people to stay close to their jobs and families maintaining social links and support.
  • They enable employers to retain employees.
  • They provide decent size functional homes which retain families in their communities and enable them to live effective lives.
  • They permanently protect homes so that they benefit subsequent generations
  • By maximising affordability they free up disposable income to spend in the real economy rather than on ultra-high housing costs.
  • They can develop other assets the community needs - community buildings, green spaces, food and energy production.
  • They can generate surpluses which can be spent on what the community needs - meals for the elderly, care services, transport


What are CLTs?

From the National CLT Network website “Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are local organisations set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets important to that community, like community enterprises, food growing or workspaces. The CLT’s main task is to make sure these homes are genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.”

See the benefits of joining the CLT Network at  www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/get-involved/join-the-network/why-join-the-network


What’s happening in Cumbria and further afield?

CLTs are becoming an important component in the response to Britain’s housing crisis.

“There are now over 170 Community Land Trusts in England and Wales, half of which formed in the last two years. The largest Community Land Trusts have over 1000 members each. Community Land Trusts will have developed 3000 new affordable homes by 2020.”

Cumbria - 58 homes built or on site, 20 in the pipeline, new communities starting up.


How can I help?

Local CLT enablers and the National Network have extensive experience of CLT delivery making it easier to deliver new CLTs. 

For communities: I can shoulder the burden making it easier for you to achieve your aims

  • Explain the CLT model
  • Access start up funding
  • Present case studies and arrange visits
  • Assist the set-up and running of steering groups
  • Assist with consultations
  • Help create local partnerships
  • Assist with land identification and landowner negotiations
  • Assess viability
  • Navigate the funding pathway
  • Provide template documents
  • Introduce company forms and link to specialist legal advice
  • Develop and manage business plans
  • Navigate the housing grant process if required
  • Provide full project management

 For Local Authorities:

  • Demonstrating self funded cross subsidy CLT finances. Showing how LAs can play a vital investment partner role, helping to secure permanent affordable housing, then recouping with interest.
  • Showing how CLTs can deliver for rural and urban communities, on low cost or commercial land or asset transfers.
  • Provide enabling for communities getting them to the point of incorporation


My experience

I became involved in community housing as a member of a Coastal and Market Towns Initiative which led to employment as the Rural Housing Enabler for Dorset Community Action where I helped two early Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to get started. In 2008 I took up the post of Community Land Trust Development Officer with Cumbria Rural Housing Trust (CRHT) which led to 58 homes being developed by four 'hands on' Community Land Trusts with 8 more homes currently in planning. Up to 2015 I served as a board member of the National CLT Network. I was also a consultee for the Community Land Trust Network Handbook and the Scottish Rural Housing Service Community Bonds Handbook. Since the closure of CRHT in April 2016 I provide project development for community led housing groups on a freelance basis.


CLT legal definition

CLTs can be charities or not for profit social enterprises meeting the definition in Clause 79 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

a corporate body which

  1. is established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental interests of a local community by acquiring and managing land and other assets in order -
    • to provide a benefit to the local community
    • to ensure that the assets are not sold or developed except in a manner which the trust's members think benefits the local community
  2. is established under arrangements which are expressly designed to ensure that:
    • any profits from its activities will be used to benefit the local community (otherwise than by being paid directly to members)
    • individuals who live or work in the specified area have the opportunity to become members of the trust (whether or not others can also become members) the members of a trust control it.


Reasons for setting up a CLT

From the CLT Network “People set up and join CLTs for all sorts of different reasons.  

It might be that there is a lack of affordable homes for young people or families in the village or neighbourhood, where local people are having to move out of the place they call home, and communities want to do something about it. 

It might be that the area has suffered years of decline and distinvestment, leaving empty properties and blight, and the community want to bring homes back into use and turn their neighbourhood around. 

Or it might be that the community is doing a Neighbourhood Plan and they want to take charge of how that Plan is delivered. 

In all these cases, the community wants to make their area a better place to live, and they want more control over how that happens.”


Where does the money come from?

Setting up - grants – the CLT Network, Local Authorities, Town and Parish Councils, local and national charities.

Predevelopment - loans and grants – the CLT Fund, Local Authority grants and loans, Locality Community Buildings Fund

Development - loans and grants – ethical banks, high street banks and building societies, Local Authorities, sales of market housing (cross subsidy), sales of shared ownership, rental income


Who manages the homes?

Each CLT sets aside a management and maintenance budget from rents. This means it can either buy in housing management or opt to manage themselves.


The CLT Network and new community led housing fund

CLT communities benefit from the vital lobbying, start-up funding and information services provided by the National CLT Network which has led to specific mention of CLTs in the budget and the launch of a special new £60m Community Housing Fund:




Why is community led development relevant and exciting?

Over the past 30 years housing in the UK has become 260% more expensive while wages have stagnated and low paid jobs have increased. The supply of affordable homes has for a long time fallen dramatically behind demand. Now Local Authorities and communities face a collapse in supply caused by new policies - the extended Right to Buy will see large numbers of Housing Association homes sold off, many of which will become private rented homes requiring higher levels of housing benefit. Welfare Reform rent reductions have upturned Housing Association financial planning inhibiting their ability to build new affordable homes. The bulk of housing grant will be channeled into ‘Starter Homes’ which can be sold at full value after 5 years. The CLT Network helping to lobby for exemptions for community owned schemes, but meanwhile CLT enablers have developed lease and cross subsidy models which offer permanent affordability tuned to local incomes. 

And CLTs offer more - new groups in Cumbria and elsewhere propose highly sustainable visions of development which they believe are needed to meet the challenges of our times - generating surpluses for community benefit, improving affordability (not charging rent on unsold equity for shared ownership), embracing new build methods, combining food, energy production and community facilities – in short creating truly sustainable neighbourhoods. And the CLT enablers like myself, along with the Network and many other community development organizations are here to help!

Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me