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Seend Community Land & Asset Trust and the Melksham-based White Horse Housing Association have launched a partnership to build affordable housing for local people within the parish.
As a result of a major campaign, run by the National Community Land Trust Network, the numbers of Community Land Trusts (CLTs) have grown across England, with more than 250 already set up. CLTs have proven to be an effective means of building small numbers of affordable homes for local people. Partnerships with housing providers, such as White Horse Housing, are seen as an effective way to meet local housing needs as the homes will remain in CLT control and affordable for parishioners in perpetuity.
Mike Ash, chair of the board of White Horse Housing said, “White Horse Housing is committed to helping communities that want to help themselves. I am very pleased that Seend CLT has chosen White Horse Housing as its partner to develop and manage its affordable housing. White Horse has a strong track record of working closely with village communities throughout Wiltshire, not only to give local people in housing need access to a quality home they can afford, but also to help sustain the wider community in which they are located.”
Wiltshire Council is committed to creating more affordable homes and has provided advice and support to Seend CLT.
The 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.
Richard Clewer, cabinet member for housing at Wiltshire Council said, “We often hear people are priced out of their own communities as house prices soar.
“I applaud Seend residents for their commitment to providing affordable homes to ensure people can afford to live in their parish. We welcome more communities coming forward and working with us on the range of options which are available, so our rural areas retain their unique character into the future.”
CLT homes will be of mixed tenure according to local need. Shared ownership and self-build homes are seen as possibilities if there is sufficient demand. Seend CLT, supported by the Wiltshire Council community-led housing team, is working with White Horse Housing Association to deliver the affordable homes in the parish over the next few years.
George Clarke, chairman of Seend CLT said, “Seend, like many rural communities, has suffered from high housing costs which have priced local people out of the purchased and rental housing markets. Senior parishioners have been unable to downsize and remain in the parish. Young people have needed to leave the parish to afford homes in order to be able to start families. Parish organisations, such as the village pub and a number of small clubs have declined as a result. It is hoped that providing new affordable homes now, will go some way to ensuring the future resilience of our strong and vibrant rural community.”
The homes will be let through Wiltshire Council’s Homes 4 Wiltshire service.
The priority for the homes will go to those households with a local connection to the parish of Seend. Housing need and length of time on the Homes 4 Wiltshire register will also be considered.
Some people may have tried to register with Homes 4 Wiltshire (H4W) in the past and been refused and advised that they are adequately housed because they are accommodated in a private let or living with relatives. People may not be generally aware of the existence of the open market register operated by Homes 4 Wiltshire. This means that people still have a chance to apply for affordable properties in Seend if they have a local connection to the parish. So, do not delay, apply to join the Homes 4 Wiltshire register at www.homes4wiltshire .co.uk as soon as possible.
Above: Steve Vaux, George Clarke and Kath Steggall (left to right) from Seend CLT; Belinda Eastland, (third from left) operations manager, White Horse Housing Association; and Vicky Bodman (far right) of the community-led housing team at Wiltshire Council/Community First.