So …..what is a Community Land Trust?
A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a non- profit community-based organisation, run essentially by its members, which acquires and holds land and/or buildings to meet its agreed objectives.
There are now over 225 CLTs across the UK, with a national CLT network providing workshops, conferences, case studies and advice to start-ups.
The Hereford Community Land Trust (HCLT) was formed in 2016 by a group of local people in response to a proposed large-scale housing development planned for the Three Elms area of the city of Hereford.
HCLT is a member of a national network of local Land Trusts.
The principal objective of the Hereford CLT is to develop and own or manage ‘permanently affordable’ housing, and possibly workspaces and community facilities, that will enable the needs and sometimes the aspirations of the local community to be met
It aims to build low-cost, high-quality homes for sale or rent to local people in the Hereford area. These could include homes which are either:
- let at social, affordable or intermediate rents (all slightly different), or
- sold at affordable cost, to ‘self-finish’ occupiers at a lowered price, or
- designed and built by self-builders, or ‘self-finishers’, or
- sold at market prices to provide funds for building the above.
And we intend to create ‘exemplar housing’ projects, that is projects that will encourage other local communities to band together to develop homes which meet real local needs at affordable prices, rather than enriching large-scale house-builders and their shareholders
Key Features of any Community Land Tust
Community-controlled and community-owned. A CLT is set up by the community and for the community. The members of the CLT control it, and its assets can only be sold or developed in a manner which benefits the local community. If the CLT decides to sell a home, the cash realised is protected by an asset lock and is re-invested into something else that the trust’s members believe will benefit the local community.
Open democratic structure. People who live and work in the defined local community, including occupiers of the properties that the CLT owns, must have the opportunity to become members of the CLT. The CLT should actively engage members of the community in its work and ensure that they remain engaged in the development and operation of the CLT.
Permanently affordable housing or other assets. A crucial defining feature of a CLT is that it will endeavour to keep the homes or assets ‘permanently affordable’: the home or asset is not just made affordable for the first buyer, but maintained so in perpetuity.
Not-for-profit. All CLTs are not-for-profit and any profits generated by the CLT cannot be paid by way of dividend or otherwise to its members but must be used to further the community’s interests.
Hereford CLT is a leading local example of “Community-Led Housing”
We are used to thinking of housing as something that is mostly provided either by large private developers building many houses for sale at a handsome profit, or by housing associations which then offer ‘social housing’ for rent. Although ‘consultations’ with local people take place, all too often housing developments once built are experienced as disappointing in that they do not address real local needs and do not actually provide homes for local people or strengthen local communities. Instead developments all too often end up as ‘dormitory’ estates which do little long-term good to local people or local communities.
Community-Led Housing (CLH) is a completely different approach
Instead of surrendering control to big companies based elsewhere with shareholders to satisfy, puts local people and communities in the driving-seat. CLH is gathering momentum quickly as an attractive alternative, so much so that there are now over 260 Community Land Trusts in the UK, plus many other models, which in the last year or two have begun to receive significant governmental recognition and funding.
Community Land Trusts
Building homes we can all afford