Headlines: August 18th, 2009

More community lands trusts are to be set up following successful pilot schemes. The charity, Carnegie UK, will receive a £0.5m grant to further develop the CLT sector by setting up a trade body and launching a website with portal and forum to provide information on creating a Trust.

Community land trusts are private bodies that own or control land and assets for the benefit of the community. This mainly involves providing shared ownership or social rented homes on land provided by the trust. Support for these trusts will now go further to help enable more grass roots development.

The Housing and Communities Agency will explore the role of local authorities in developing affordable housing through CLTs and commission a study to examine the non-cash benefits CLTs bring about. Carnegie UK will also look at sources of finance and set up a steering group of lenders, local authorities and housing associations to drive forward the sector. It will also provide training courses for professionals working for lenders and local authorities.

Matthew Taylor MP, who recently produced the Taylor Review into rural housing said: “Rural villages will die if the people who work in local shops, farms and businesses can no longer afford to live there. Today’s move to ensure affordable homes for local people stay affordable in the long term, and communities are encouraged and supported in building small scale. New affordable housing though community land trusts, are vital for many villages.”

In a further move to boost rural housing some 13,000 small rural settlements will be designated ‘protected’ areas where land to build new affordable homes is severely limited or where it is not possible to buy existing properties for shared ownership because of the small size of the housing market. Within these areas shared ownership properties will be retained by either restricting to 80 per cent the share owners can buy or allowing owners to acquire up to 100 per cent but ensuring the provider, for example a housing association, buys the property back to retain it for future purchasers.