Wiltshire Council is marking Rural Housing Week (2-6 July) by promoting the development of affordable homes in the county.
The authority has joined with Wiltshire Community Land Trust (WCLT) and Community First to set up the Wiltshire Community-Led Housing Project.
The project’s officers provide advice and encouragement to communities aiming to develop affordable homes in their area.
Richard Clewer, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We are seeking out communities who are keen to provide homes for people at affordable prices; to help them start their own CLTs, or explore other ways of providing new affordable homes.
“CLTs are the most common and proven way of delivering local housing schemes that are under the control of the community itself, by buying the freehold or leasehold of a development site.
“Homes provided in this way can be earmarked for local needs and cannot be sold, unless some homes are sold to help create an overall viable scheme.
“The local community does not necessarily have to be the developer and, typically, they will work with a housing association or similar body, such as the council.”
There are about 225 CLTs around the country, with numbers rapidly growing in Wiltshire – including projects at Broad Chalke, Wilton, Seend and Cricklade.
Seend CLT acting chairman George Clarke said “Here in Seend our CLT Steering Committee very much welcome the support provided from our Community Housing Project Manager. Establishing a project to provide affordable accommodation for local people is a complex and demanding task which will be helped tremendously by having the immediate support of a professional with relevant experience.”
Wiltshire Council has a community housing fund which can provide grants of up to £10,000 to cover costs in establishing a CLT or community group and to enable community-led affordable housing projects. Further grants and loans are also available to assist communities with initial site feasibility and planning costs, together with support from project officers.
“This is a great opportunity to help people get to grips with their local housing needs,” said Trevor Cherrett, chair of Wiltshire CLT.
Community First’s Jane Windle-Hartshorn said: “This work makes a great contribution to our support for Wiltshire’s communities, and we are delighted to work with the council and the trust.”
To find out more about community-led housing contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information on the Community Housing Fund can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/housing-community-fund