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Herefordshire Community Land Trust
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Artists’ and Makers’ Quarter, Central Hereford – Latest Update

We have identified a building that the owner is willing to sell privately which lends itself to adaptation to a number of artists’ workspaces, a shop/exhibition area and two one-bedroom flats (which might also include a workspace) that would be let at affordable rents.

We have recently obtained a grant from The Architectural Heritage Fund which will allow us to produce fully costed plans for the adaptation and repair of the building, along with a full business plan which we can use to begin to raise the necessary finance.

We are aiming to align this project with Hereford’s Town Fund plans to act as a further boost to the regeneration of the city centre in light of changing shopping habits. Perhaps more importantly, given that our primary purpose is to increase the supply of truly affordable accommodation, this project will help show ways of turning underused floor space above shops and other buildings in the city into accommodation, especially for younger people who can struggle to live and work in Hereford. We seek to work alongside Herefordshire Council to achieve more use of such space in future.

As we develop our plans for the building we will be seeking to involve as many artists and makers as possible. If anyone wishes to be kept in touch with this project, please send us an email via the contacts page.

Decision not to pursue the site at Andrews Close

This was a site we have been considering for a while. Its key ‘development’ issue, in terms of planning, was its narrow access lane. We drew up several different options of how we might build five two bedroom homes on the site (the size identified by Herefordshire Council as being in shortest supply for affordable accommodation in this area of the city), along with restricted car use and some possible communal facilities, and shared these with the local community. However the community preferred to see no homes built on the site, rather feeling that the land, currently essentially unused, should be managed as open space for the benefit of the local community. Many ideas were suggested for what the space could include.

Given the opposition to any housing development, we feel we can’t pursue this project as we would not be able to to show it was community-led.

Herefordshire Council’s Housing Strategy is out for Consultation

Herefordshire Council have updated their housing strategy and have put it out for consultation on line. Searching for ‘Herefordshire Council Housing Strategy Consultation’ should find it, whilst the full link is: https://consultations.herefordshire.gov.uk/consultations/article/57/draft-local-housing-strategy-consultation.

The response is by a questionnaire, making it easy to complete. There are sections on affordable housing, the links between health and housing, the quality of existing homes and bringing long-term empty homes back into use, reducing the negative impact that housing has on the environment, partnership working to meet particular needs, and on anything you think the strategy may have missed altogether.

HCLT’s board will be making its own response, but everyone is encouraged to make their own contributions, perhaps highlighting help that could be provided to CLTs as they are focussed on meeting local affordable needs, and encouraging their approach to development through wide discussion before submitting plans. Those are just our suggestions (and we have others)!

If anyone also wishes to raise an issue about the Strategy with us, then please email us at: herefordclt@gmail.com

Please note that if responding, the questionnaire needs to be completed by 11th June.

A possible Artists’ and Makers’ Quarter with affordable housing in central Hereford

Hereford Community Land Trust was invited to make an ‘expression of interest’ bid for some finance under the government’s Towns Fund with the aim of acquiring property in the Berrington and Aubrey Street areas of the city to create an Artists’ and Makers’ Quarter together with affordable housing.

This follows on the report we produced concerning various properties and spaces within Hereford’s historic core, ascertaining which might be suitable to investigate further with the aim of providing affordable housing. (If you would like a copy of this report, please email us at herefordclt@gmail.com .

Working with Hereford MAKE, Hereford College of Arts, the Ford Collective, Rural Media Company and others, we are now carrying out a survey to ascertain the demand from artists and makers, especially young artists and craftspeople, for potential premises in such a Quarter and what it would need to include, along with any associated requirement for affordable housing.

If you or anyone you know might be even remotely interested in the possibility of being part of such a Quarter, we would appreciate it if you/they could complete an online survey by the 31st December 2020 so that the data may be used to support funding and planning applications.

To complete the survey, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2M5BC6W , or use the QR code below.

News from the Dales – what is best value?

 

A Community Land Trust in the Dales has run into the requirement for the Parochial Church Council, as a charity, to accept the highest price (aka ‘best value’) on offer for a redundant church school, rather than a slightly lower offer from The Upper Dales Community Land Trust.

The asking price of £185,000 has been offered by seven different prospective purchasers, all of who appear to want to turn it into a private home. The Community Land Trust offered £150,000 with a plan to then convert the single-storey building into three two-bedroom homes and one one-bedroom home, all affordable. The proposal was backed by the parish council, Richmondshire district council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

The resulting row has drawn in the chancellor of the exchequer and the archbishop of Canterbury.

Rishi Sunak has urged church leaders to reconsider the sale of Arkengarthdale Church of England primary school, and members of the community have demanded the intervention of Justin Welby. But the diocese of Leeds and the parish vicar say their hands are legally tied, even though a C of E commission is investigating ways the church can help tackle the housing crisis – including by building affordable housing on its surplus land.

Sunak, the MP for Richmond, said he was disappointed by the sale to a higher bidder. In a letter to the PCC asking it to reconsider the trust’s offer, he said: “The trust’s mission to provide affordable homes for rent in the Yorkshire dales is an important one for the future sustainability of these rural communities which we are all proud to serve.”

A few years ago Hereford CLT had discussions with the Church Commissioners regarding their land at Three Elms for which they were seeking planning permission and were informed that the Commissioners would have to see ‘best value’ Essentially that means the highest price, though with some small wriggle room for what a CLT could bring to the table as against A.N. Other property developer in terms of management of open space, community involvement, and so forth.

For the full story about the school: www.theguardian.com/society/2020/aug/26/rishi-sunak-and-archbishop-drawn-into-yorkshire-dales-housing-row

HCLT response to Consultation on Affordable Housing

HCLT has responded to Herefordshire Council’s consultation on Affordable Housing which will form part of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). Our response can be accessed here: SPD response final

The current SPD needs to be revised and updated as a result of the 2019 changes within the National Planning Policy Framework. A dedicated Affordable Housing SPD will support and offer guidance on the different types of affordable housing that is required within the county to meet the needs of Herefordshire’s community. Once adopted it will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

HCLT support the Council’s SPD but have suggested a number of changes to increase the number of affordable homes being built as well as improving their quality. Some of the main points that we made are:

  1. Recognition of CLTs to help in delivery of affordable housing
  2.  Encouragement of provision of affordable homes in town centres
  3.  Council to provide list of small sites (< I ha) which are targeted to provide 10% of housing
  4.  More control over larger developments to ensure that 10% of homes are in the affordable category
  5.  More encouragement of walking and cycling and use of public transport for residents of affordable housing developments

 

 

Homes at the Heart – launch letter

The National Housing Federation has launched a campaign to invest in social housing, supported by a wide cross-section of housing sector.
Here is an open letter they have sent to the Government.


Dear Chancellor
We are writing to urge you to put good quality, affordable housing at the heart of your plans for social and economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
This pandemic has transformed our relationship with our homes. For some, home has been a sanctuary from a dangerous and unpredictable virus. Home has become their office, a classroom, a gym or a place of worship. But for countless others, the place they have spent lockdown has felt like a prison – housing that is far too small, too expensive, of poor quality or isolated from the support that would help them to live well.
The coronavirus crisis is further highlighting the need for secure, high quality, better designed affordable homes and, for many people, support to live in them. Not least for many of the people most affected by this crisis – low-paid key workers living in homes they can’t afford, rough sleepers helped off the streets, homeless families in temporary accommodation, older people in unsupported homes, and families stuck in overcrowded conditions.
Without action, we are likely to see many people’s housing situations get much worse in the weeks, months and years ahead, as the economic impacts of the crisis are felt across the country.
In times of crisis, the worth of social housing is ever more visible and to so many of the challenges that lie ahead, social housing is the answer. The social housing sector stands ready to play a major role in shoring up the future of the country.

• Public investment in all types of new and existing social housing gives more back to the economy than it takes.
• Building and improving social homes, including delivering on the decarbonisation agenda, creates jobs, kick-starts growth and brings huge environmental benefits.
• Investing in supporting people to live well in their social homes improves health and wellbeing, and drives cost savings for the NHS.
• Social housing is at the centre of thriving communities.

That is why we support the Homes at the Heart campaign.
As you develop and deliver plans to get the country back on track, we are calling on the government to put social homes at the heart of recovery – as a driver of economic and social prosperity, and an anchor for strong communities.

More details on https://www.housing.org.uk/HomesAtTheHeart

After the Plague – Better Housing?

Within a week of the 1666 Great Fire of London, Christopher Wren had presented his master plan for rebuilding the City to King Charles II. It will come as no surprise that little of Wren’s scheme, apart from the widening of some main streets, was ever implemented.
What are the lessons of Covid-19 and will we see any changes as a result? Firstly, there is an observed correlation between overcrowding and deaths and it would seem reasonable to ask that local governments use their powers to tackle abuses and that central government ensures that legislation protects the vulnerable. Secondly, home is very much more than a place to sleep and we need to build homes that have enough room to live in for long periods. Thirdly, we all need access to sunlight and fresh air. Homes need open spaces – a balcony or a patio should be the minimum standard for all new homes.
But will this happen? Although Wren’s masterplan didn’t see the light of day, building standards were greatly improved and many wonderful churches, still standing today, rose from the ashes. And Wren’s blueprints were eventually used, in modified form, in the building of the Washington, capital of the USA.
HCLT are committed to building dwellings that enhance people’s lives through good design and high energy efficiency. We are confident that anything that we build will meet tomorrow’s needs.

Emerging from Covid-19 – what happens next?

Despite lockdown, HCLT has being pushing ahead with its mission to find suitable sites to build affordable, sustainable homes in Hereford. As the restrictions ease and the focus turns to restarting the economy, it is a good time to recap on the benefits that the CLT approach brings to society.
The Co-Chief Executive of National Community Land Trust Network has just published a blog setting forward her vision for the CLT movement – building truly affordable, decent homes for local heroes by engaging with the community and using scraps of land that other developers believe to be unviable. We couldn’t agree more.

http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/article/2020/5/13/co-ce-a-role-for-the-movement-in-the-post-covid-economic-recovery

Date for your diaries – the Future of the High Street

The Future of the High Street –  a Left Bank Village Event
Date for your diaries – Wednesday 17 June 2020 7.30pm on the Left Bank talks web-site, the second in the series “High Town and beyond” where there will be discussions on the high street as not just an economic retail area but also as a vital invaluable social hub. Some say the High Street is on the way out. Shall we just take the path of least resistance, let it succumb to its fate and see where that gets us? Or, shall we get together and think about what we can do instead…More details will be published on: https://hgnetwork.org/left-bank-talks-and-discussion-evenings-coming-up-4/
In the wake of the recent announcement that the Council has agreed to buy Maylord Shopping Centre, the event promises to be an interesting evening.
The first talk, which was held on 6th  May was well attended, with an interesting and thoughtful presentation – see High Street – NH V1

HCLT is finalising a study of the historic buildings in the City centre, which we hope to make available shortly