Photo courtesy of Mark Brookes
Here are the key reasons we think it’s worth a shot:
Unlike most developers, the CLT can focus on providing homes that are genuinely affordable, principally homes for ‘social rent’.
CLT homes can be ring-fenced for people in housing need with a local connection, thereby preserving and strengthening social support and community ties.
Unlike most social housing, CLT homes will remain affordable in perpetuity – they can’t be sold off under the ‘Right to Buy’.
The CLT can encourage community-friendly development – housing which promotes connection and well-being rather than isolation and anonymity.
The CLT is based on community ownership of land and/or other assets. It is democratically controlled by its members, anyone with a Frome connection can become a member, and the assets can only be developed or sold in a manner which benefits the local community.
There is currently a national funding programme to which the CLT can bid, to help us acquire land and develop homes.
With around 850 CLTs nationally, we are part of a national movement, promoting community-led homes as an alternative to a dysfunctional housing market, learning from and supporting one another.
And lastly, the CLT approach is so right for Frome, with our strong community and voluntary sector and our progressive, independent Council.
In the following months, and with the support of FHfF and the Town Council, the founding directors of the new CLT investigated options, learnt about CLTs elsewhere, developed key policies, and established a strong working relationship with Wessex CLT Project, a support agency with a great track record of CLT development in the South-West.
Following a big membership drive, the CLT held a public meeting and Special General Meeting in August 2019, when a new board of directors were democratically elected by the membership (see the Frome Times Report).
With grant funding from the government’s Community Housing Fund, the CLT is now in the process of identifying prospective sites where we hope to build our first affordable housing.
If Frome Area Community Land Trust is to provide genuinely affordable homes for local people, it needs to find land. The CLT is looking for sites that would be unavailable to private developers; this might be agricultural land adjacent to the town, or pockets of land within the town that might be available to the CLT at a price it can afford. The CLT intends to work with a suitable housing association to fund and build the homes, using a model that has proved very successful elsewhere in the south west.
Any housing the CLT develops will remain affordable in perpetuity for the benefit of Frome people.
If you are a local landowner or agent, or know of any land you think might be suitable, the CLT would love to hear from you. Please contact them by email at email@example.com