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Community Land Trust Update



A Community Land Trust for Aldingbourne  

A public meeting organised by Aldingbourne Parish Council last week voted unanimously to support the setting up of a Community Land Trust to acquire and provide new housing specifically to meet the needs of local residents.  

Graham Maunders, from the Sussex Community Housing Hub at Action in Rural Sussex, is helping communities across Sussex to set up Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to provide community led housing. He explained that a CLT provides protection of assets in perpetuity for the benefit of local people without being affected by the Right to Buy or shared ownership property being staircased to full ownership. Funding is currently available from the Government’s Community Housing Fund, via Arun District Council, for the creation of a CLT which can acquire housing on behalf of the local community and prioritise access for local people to rent or buy under shared equity. Charity loan finance can also be accessed, repaid from rents and shared equity sales.

75 people attended and many questions were raised. Graham explained that property would remain affordable in perpetuity because the CLT would be able to set rents below the market level and retain a portion of the equity of shared ownership homes. Land and housing could either be bought  or donated or provided at low cost by landowners and developers or local authorities.  Schemes could be mixed tenure and any number of homes could be provided.  The question of who could be eligible as “local” and how to keep property “affordable” would be decided by the locally elected Board of the CLT. 

Graham explained that volunteers would be required to set up a CLT, which would have limited liability status and be able to access professional support and advice from AirS and elsewhere. Chairman of Aldingbourne Parish Council, Martin Beaton, explained that the Parish Council could not legally manage a CLT but to assist its development had allocated a budget of £5,000 towards establishment costs and professional support, and that several people had already stepped forward to help set up and run a CLT. At the end of the meeting more offered to help and those attending were invited to put their name down if they would like to help or to be kept in touch with progress. 

Mr Beaton said after the meeting: “The Parish Council is delighted that volunteers have kindly stepped forward to set up a CLT. We have been aware that local families are being priced out of the local housing market and intend to ensure that, whatever housing development finally impacts on the Parish, there are clear benefits to the local community. It was therefore really pleasing to have such a good response, with about 75 people attending.  They included both young adults and older people, people with their own housing problems and those concerned for their children or elderly parents.  

We hope that the CLT will be established across the parishes of Aldingbourne, Eastergate and Barnham and it was good to see people from Eastergate and Barnham as well as Westergate and Aldingbourne attending, because the problem affects all these neighbouring villages and it is important we work together for local benefit.

We are very grateful to Cllr Michael Warden for setting this meeting up. If anyone else would like to put their name down either to be kept in touch with progress or to volunteer to join the CLT please contact the Parish Clerk, Joanne Brown, at Aldingbourneparishcouncil.gmail.com.”