2020 marks the ten year anniversary for the National CLT Network, the central organisation for the 300 CLTS across England and Wales.
CLTs have succeeded in villages, towns and cities, working with housing associations, developers, councils or alone, blending community ownership, cohousing and custom build, resulting in 500 new homes being built, with a further 23,000 more in the pipeline. CLTs have also been active in other areas including pubs, cafes, sports facilities, workspace, woodlands and even a local brewery. As an example, see the article on our website featuring Homebaked – a Liverpool café and bakery that has become the heart of a community in the Anfield area of the city.
NCLT’s mission for the next stage of its life is to build a diverse CLT movement, where CLTs are vehicles for communities to meet their needs and to thrive. To succeed NCLT, the enabler hubs that support regional initiatives and local CLTs themselves need funding. In March, the Government’s budget made no announcement about the future of the Community Housing Fund, ‘CHF’, a £60 million grant programme that provided vital support for Local Authorities to promote community projects, partly through CLTs. Without this important funding source, many CLT projects are now at risk.
Hereford CLT, like many other CLTs, have being lobbying their MPs for the CHF to continue. We recently met Jesse Norman who is Financial Secretary to the Treasury with responsibility among other things for tax policy and administration, customs and infrastructure investment. He has no remit over housing, which is handled by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Jesse told us that the recent Budget’s focus was for understandable reasons on Coronavirus and its effects on the UK economy and on delivering on election manifesto promises. He was hopeful that Ministers would make a statement on the continuation of the Community Housing Fund shortly.
We all support the focus on supressing Covid-19 and mitigating its wide ranging impact across our country. Hereford CLT looks forward to the time when we will return to the focus on building better communities through, among other things, affordable and sustainable housing.