I am extremely enthusiastic about the potential of a Seend Community Land Trust. The Localism Act 2011 may not be bedside reading for everyone but it brings a unique opportunity for local communities to take control and plan their destinies.It comes at a time when we have the threat of an unwelcome housing estate and the residents of Seend can actually acquire the powers necessary for the provision of affordable housing for their use. The community right to build and the community right to challenge are two very important ingredients in this innovative legislation. I hope the spirit of Seend will support the efforts being devoted to the formation of a Seend CLT.
“The rise of the modern day land barons” (Sunday Telegraph) Business P 4 August 6th 2017 is worth reading. It gives us an inside look at the money being made by various “agencies “ involved in procuring land, obtaining planning permission and building houses on it. The ‘land barons” are financial predators who scour villages and towns in England for suitable sites to leverage their value from £5k-£10K per acre to anything up to £4 million per acre according to area and housing density.With so many “agents" all taking a “margin” is it any wonder why homes are so expensive and unaffordable? We have a classic example of this predatory behaviour in action on the agricultural land adjoing the Lye!
If more communities exercised their own right to build, the price of homes would come tumbling down and be affordable again. One mechanism that allows a community to do just this is the formation of a Community Land Trust (CLT) that deals directly with landowners,the planning authorities and the house builders. If Seend residents express their will to do so via a referendum they can start the ball rolling tomorrow. By cutting out all of the middle men, the true cost of building houses on freehold sites within the Seend Parish would come tumbling down. A spirit of altruism and philanthopy would take Seend back to the days of the Usher and Bell families to name just two prominent legators amonst many others who left us such a precious heritage. The time has come for Seend residents to express our appreciation of our inheritance and determine to preserve an attractive environment for all those who wish to live here now and in the future, both young and old. A Seend CLT is powered by the people of Seend for the people of Seend - what could give a more inspiring message?
Here's the link for the Telegraph article quoted above.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/05/modern-day-barons-inside-murky-underbelly-land-promotion/
The Mail on Sunday reports (P37) another unwanted housing estate (54 homes) being planned in the village of Alvescot in Oxfordshire. This follows a similar predatory model to the Seend development in which the local heritage assets are the target of naked commercial exploitation.
“Ugly New Homes create NIMBYS” is a headline in today’s Sunday Telegraph (P2). Neil Parish MP Chairman of the Environment Select Committee has sounded a warning about the imposition of characterless and poorly built new properties being imposedx on local communities. “If we fill our towns and villages with housing that people feel is totally inappropriate for their area, we will kill any sense of goodwill."
And so say all of us in Seend! If the local community fails to embrace the opportunity we have been given by the Localism Act 2011, in the form of a Seend CLT, nobody will be able to grumble and complain if an unwelcome housing estate appears on our skyline out of the blue.
Community leaders in Lyme Regis have launched a £2 million project to help combat a housing crisis in one of the worst areas in Britain for first time buyers. At £350,000 the average house price is well beyond the means of most people born and brought up in the area. After forming a not for profit Community Land Trust (CLT) a local land owner David Garman OBE agreed to sell a one acre plot to the CLT for a nominal fee. The CLT obtained planning permission and secured £2 million of public funding to build a new cul-de-sac and 15 affordable homes for local people who can prove they have spent 5 out of the last 10 years living in Lyme Regis. The new development will be named Garman’s Field in memory of the generosity of the philanthropic landowner.
( Daily Telegraph 2 October 2017 P10)
At our Tuesday meeting this week it was greatly encouraging see so many people interested in our Community-led housing project in Seend Cleeve. It was also stumulating to have so many probing questions about our drive to provide perpetually affordable homes for Seend people.
The CLT works for all of the parish of Seend and not just for the members. However, it is the members who decide the work and direction of the CLT. As a parishioner you have a shout, but as member, you have a vote.
For those who are newly interested in what CLTs can and can't do, we've compiled a reading list of sources that we found useful.
The Seend CLT blog is where Parish of Seend residents can ask questions and discuss Seend CLT developments.The Seend CLT is NOT the Seend Parish Neighbourhood Plan (SPNP). The Seend CLT organisation is available for delivering the housing and community asset policies of your SPNP.