Approximately 60 members of the public present
In attendance: Cllr D Hayward (Chairman of the Parish Council), Tricia Chapman (Clerk), Alison Ward (Community Trust Project Advisor) and Peter Simon (Dorset Council)
- Bradford Abbas Parish Council: Welcome & Introductions
Cllr D Hayward welcomed the members of the public thanking them for coming out this evening. He stated the purpose of the evening is for the residents of Bradford Abbas to learn more about a Community Land Trust and to consider establishing a CLT within Bradford Abbas. He went through the long history and many attempts the Parish Council has been through in order to bring affordable housing into the village since 2009. A Community Land Trust can go much further than affordable housing.
He noted most recently there was a survey to enquire if the residents of Bradford Abbas felt there was a need and would support affordable housing within the village. From those that completed the survey there was primarily a positive view toward affordable housing. In 2015 West Dorset District Council had 16 families actively looking for housing within Bradford Abbas.(Cllr D Hayward’s introductory notes are available on request)
- Dorset Council: The need for affordable homes for local people
Simon Parker, Dorset Council also thanked the residents in attendance, he felt it was a positive sign and a sense of community.
Mr Parker noted he went through the process with his community, taking five years to get the groundwork started. Many of the hold ups were with the architecture of the houses, they wanted to get it right for their community. He noted a CLT can tap into land that is not normally available for building, outside development areas.
His role in Dorset Council is to help set up a community benefit society and most financial aspects including the grants available to CLTs. It is Alison Ward and her team that will offer the professional advice. Mr Parker helps to set up the project team/ steering group, this group is run by the community for the community, not run by the Parish Council or Dorset Council.
Once the CLT is establish it could take over the pub or shop if they are at risk, begin a renewable energy scheme in order to provide for the affordable housing. Normally, in the first instance a CLT is set up to move forward with affordable housing.
- Wessex CLT Project
What is a CLT?
The four principles of a CLT:
1. Not-for-private-profit organisation set up to benefit a specific community.
2. CLTs can own land and other assets which are important to a community –starting with affordable housing.
3. CLTs hold those assets so that they are available and affordable for future generations.
4. A CLT is open to membership by anyone in the community supporting its aims.
It keeps the assets within the community ownership.
What is the Wessex CLT Project? Alison Ward gave some examples that can be seen of Wessex CLT Projects: Tollor Porcorum that built 6 homes, post office, Norton Sub Hamdon built 10 homes and a shop through shares. Lyme Regis and Appledor & Aster are some examples of the more challenging CLTs, outside the developmental boundary.
- Questions & Answers
How affordable are the rents?
It depends on the economics of the area but in general 60% to 80% of open market rent.
Is it shared or full ownership?
Alison Ward noted it depends on the need but normally it is a mix. Norton Sub Hamdon has 8 affordable houses and 2 shared ownership. Many CLTs have a few on the open market to fund lower rents. Simon Parker noted the CLTs in Dorset have only had affordable houses, none on the open market.
What is the length of the agreement?
125 years is the normal length of agreement, but this could vary.
The CLT Committee will interview housing association if they decide to partner with a local association. The CLT Committee will set the criteria of residents in a policy stating who would be eligible from the housing association list.
What happens when the project runs over, will grants cover this?
This is not normally a problem Alison Ward and her team will advise the committee along the way and funding more than likely can be found. Cllr D Hayward noted he attended the opening of the affordable housing in Yetminster and Piddletrenthide last year. Although they were not through a CLT there was a mix of 3, 2 and 1 bedroom. One of the houses was specifically configured for a disabled person.
The next step is to set up a Steering Group that would ideally consist of 15 to 20 people from this meeting. A board will be set up from the Steering Group.
Does this Board need a specific set of skills?
Alison stated you can buy skills but not enthusiasm, no skills are needed, all members of the community are welcome.