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Community-led affordable homes project starts in Seend

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A PROJECT to build 10 affordable and energy-efficient houses for Seend villagers in need of homes began this month. 

Seend CLT Partnership Members at the Seend Cleeve affordable homes site.

Behind the innovative community-led housing partnership are project partners Seend Community Land and Asset Trust, White Horse Housing Association, Wiltshire Council, Homes of Our Own, Wiltshire Community Land Trust and Homes England (the government housing accelerator) – who have all worked together for four years with the Seend community to bring this community land trust initiative to life. 

The high-quality, low energy affordable homes – described as ‘passive houses’ – designed by PKA Architects of Potterne, will be available for occupation in summer 2023.  Energy costs for these highly insulated homes will be substantially less than average. Under this Community Land Trust (CLT) scheme Seend people in need of homes have housing allocation priority. There are now 552 CLTs in England with 627 live projects and more than 7,500 homes in the construction pipeline. 

Alex Booth, a director of the Seend CLT said, “The number of affordable family homes in Seend has been reduced by the legacy of council right-to-buy schemes and as a result of wages not increasing in line with staggering house price increases.  

“This doesn’t just mean that many hard-working people may never own their own homes, but it also hugely disadvantages young people and families wishing to make homes in our village.  

“The last housing needs survey highlighted that amongst other issues, young people who have grown up in Seend are unable to afford to make their own homes here. This situation has potential to impact upon local families, the diversity of our community, the viability of our excellent primary school and other active and future community groups. 

“Our CLT homes aim to begin to address this issue. It is hoped this project will help enable people in Seend to live affordably in the community they are connected to, remaining close to their family support networks. It has the potential to help welcome future generations of villagers looking to enjoy, nurture and add value to the rural community spirit upon which this village prides itself.” 

Chief Executive of White Horse Housing Association, Steve Warran, said, “We are delighted that the development of this exciting new affordable housing scheme is finally starting. It is the culmination of many years hard work with Seend Community Land Trust and the wider community and will bring much needed affordable homes to this beautiful village. We have also worked in partnership with Wiltshire Council and Homes England to bring forward vital funding to make the scheme viable and we are grateful for their support on this project.”

Operations Manager, Belinda Eastland said, “This project not only brings affordable rented homes to the village but also the opportunity for local people to purchase a shared ownership home, getting on to the property ladder in a village where house prices are very high and increasingly out of reach for local people wishing to remain in the area where they have grown up, work or live.” 

The homes, seven rented (2 x 1 bed, 4 x 2 bed and 1 x 3 bed ) and three shared ownership (1 x 2 bed and 2 x 3 bed) are due to be completed in July 2023 and White Horse Housing will be working with local people to help them register with Wiltshire Council and Help To Buy South so that they are ready to apply for the homes when available. 

Chair of Wiltshire Community Land Trust and partner in Homes of Our Own Wiltshire & Swindon, Trevor Cherrett, said, “Many congratulations to Seend Community Land and Asset Trust for this terrific achievement. It shows how genuinely affordable and sustainable homes can be provided by communities themselves. We hope very much that this will be an inspiration for many more villages and towns across Wiltshire.”  

Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for housing, cllr Phil Alford, said, “We are very pleased to support this development, firstly through the Homes of Our Own Partnership, which has been instrumental in working with the Community Land Trust to help initiate Wiltshire’s first Community Led Housing development.   

“Once the CLT partnered with White Horse Housing Association to create these homes to Passivhaus standards of energy performance, we continued to support this development with significant funding. This will help bring forward 10 much-needed affordable homes, offering a standard of housing that will ensure homes are affordable to run with very low running costs.” 

Project Officer for Homes of Our Own, Louise Newman, said, “Homes of Our Own are delighted that Seend Community Land Trust are paving the way for community led housing in Wiltshire. We’re incredibly proud to be working with the CLT and White Horse Housing Association, who have all worked so hard to bring forward these much needed affordable and sustainable homes within their community. This scheme shows that with hard work and dedication, communities can work together to provide housing for local people, which is a massive achievement.”  

Homes of Our Own can support communities in Wiltshire and Swindon interested in developing housing within their local area.  

More information on community led housing and the support available can be found at: www.homesofourown.co.uk 

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