We formed the Faversham Community Land Trust to increase the availability of “really affordable housing” in Faversham. This would be a form of social housing. Shelter reports that across England, over 1.2 million households are on the social housing waiting list.
Shelter is the UK’s national campaign of homeless people; they have some useful, clear definitions.
“Social housing gives people a home. It’s cheaper to rent than privately rented housing and usually provides a long-term tenancy, giving renters the chance to put down roots. Social landlords tend to be councils or housing associations.”
“Social rents are lower than so-called ‘affordable’ rents which are set at up to 80% of the market rate.”
It can be difficult to understand how to apply for social housing. We have some advice pages which hope to make this easier for you.
Find out how to apply for council house, and how to get a housing association home.
Affordable Housing is defined by central government as Housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market (including housing that provides a subsidised route to home ownership and/or is for essential local workers) and which is made available for rent or purchase at 20% below local market value. more
Affordable Housing is not being delivered by developers.
Housing charity Shelter examined how ‘viability assessments’ reduced the number of affordable homes being built in 11 local authorities across nine cities in England. The research shows that when the loophole was used in the last year, some 2,500 affordable homes (79%) were lost from the number required by council policies.
Viability assessments allow developers to reduce the number of affordable houses they build on their site, if they can show building them risks reducing their profits to below 20%. It means many developers face no penalty for over-paying for land because they can recover the costs by reducing their commitments to building new affordable homes.
The research sampled: Birmingham, Brent, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Kensington and Chelsea, and Southwark. But the assessments are being used right across the country so the annual figure of lost houses is likely far higher.” more
FCLT's first public meeting was a great success.
Wednesday, 25 September saw the first public meeting of the Faversham Community Land Trust, and the general consensus is that it went really well, and got the newly formed CLT off to a positive start.
Technically, the meeting was a ‘Special General Meeting’, and the business end of things was to elect the new Board of Directors, but just as importantly the meeting was to launch the new organisation and to engage with the people of Faversham about what they thought should be it’s priorities.
Right from when it was just an idea, there has always been a strong view that a CLT had to involve and engage with the people of Faversham in a meaningful way. By the people and for the people, to borrow a phrase!
Over 40 people attended and part of the evening was spent in small groups, with each group thinking about what they thought should be the early priorities for the Land Trust. These were all noted down on the ubiquitous flip-chart paper, to be taken away and written up afterwards. These will be issues the new Board will be working on initially.
In advance of the meeting, all members (membership is a very important part of the Land Trust, click here for Membership details) were invited to nominate potential new Board Members. Seven of us were nominated. We all said a few words about our backgrounds and why we were keen to be involved with the Land Trust, and we were duly elected.
To help get us all inspired, we were very pleased to have guests from another Community Land Trust – the Crane Valley CLT which is based in Cranbrook in Kent – who are a bit further ahead than us and who shared some of their experience and knowledge with us.
So, that was the 1st General Meeting. Now down to business and the hard work of getting hold of some land or property and creating some truly affordable housing for Faversham. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but we are determined to get there. Check back to our blog page for future updates!