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Housing

Government commits £240 million to community-led housing

Community land trusts (CLTs) will get the chance build thousands of genuinely affordable homes as the housing minister sets up new fund

The radical community  groups changing the way housing developments are done have received a massive boost: £240 million of new funding from the government.

The Big Issue has championed the work of community land trusts (CLTs), organisations that have been able to create genuinely affordable housing built or refurbished across the UK.

Housing minister Alok Sharma said CLTs and other co-operative housing groups would be able to apply to a new Community Housing Fund from January 2018.

Sharma said “we want to build more of the right homes, in the right places, at the right prices. And I believe that community-led housing has a huge role to play in helping us to do just that.”

If a CLT can obtain land or secure a long-term lease on a site, it can dictate the terms of the rent, or insist on sale conditions for new homes. While the model usually restricts the resident from making a profit when moving on, it also ensures the asset remains affordable for future residents.

The London Community Land Trust, for instance, worked with development partners to obtain 23 new home for sale on the old St Clements hospital site in Bow (illustrated above).

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The homes have been sold at roughly one third of market value after the CLT decided to link house prices to local earnings.

It is an opportunity to grow the community-led housing movement from hundreds of communities building homes, to thousands

Baroness Bakewell, chair of the National Community Land Trust Network, said she was “delighted” the government has decided to commit £60 million a year to the sector over the next four years.

She said it was “an opportunity to grow the community-led housing movement from hundreds of communities building homes, to thousands, and build a proper market for the sector.”

Nic Bliss, head of policy at the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, described the announcement as “a massive and potentially paradigm-shifting opportunity for our sector to develop.”

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