Hereford Times article 5th March 2020

Trusts have issued a plea to government to save their plans for affordable homes in Herefordshire.

By Charlotte Moreau

Fownhope Community Land Trust and Hereford Community Land Trust, two community driven organisations whose aim is to build sustainable and genuinely affordable homes in their respective neighbourhoods, fear their plans could be put on hold if the government doesn’t renew a national funding programme.

The £163m Community Housing Fund opened for bids in July 2018 to fund housing projects managed specifically by community groups, such as Fownhope and Hereford CLTs. Community led housing is a growing sector and in just two years the Fund has sparked proposals for over 16,600 homes.

But after just 18 months the Fund is no longer open to bids. The community led housing sector, which the Conservative Party committed to back in its general election manifesto, is campaigning for the Fund to be renewed for a further five years in the Spring Budget on 11 March. Both Fownhope and Hereford CLTs have written to their respective MPs, Bill Wiggin and Jesse Norman asking for their assistance.

Fownhope CLT was only formed in June 2019 and is just exploring possibilities that could need such funding if they are to be successful.

Hereford CLT, founded in 2017 is working with the Herefordshire Council, a Local Housing Association and a private landowner to find sites in the City of Hereford suitable for developing community housing.

Catherine Harrington, Co-Chief Executive of the National Community Land Trust Network, said:
“Housing projects like that of local housing groups are so important. In many cases these are homes that would never be built by a traditional housebuilder, maybe because the project isn’t profitable enough or it’s on a difficult plot of land. Community led housing groups aren’t put off by things like that: what’s important to them is building the right kind of housing that local people can actually afford. That’s why the government must renew the Fund for a further five years”.