Read the comments below from some of our members to learn why they got involved, you may have a similar story to tell...
I have lived in Faversham for 10 years. My husband and I moved back to Faversham from Canterbury so that we could raise our children in the place he grew up and a town that offers a community spirit that is difficult to find. In that time, as private renters, we have watched average rental property rates double. Our wages have stayed very nearly the same , both of us work. We are now facing the very real prospect of never being able to buy a house. Firstly this is terrifying because there is very little security to be had in private renting. We are lucky that we have found a good landlady but many other families, friends included have been forced to leave the area. Leaving jobs and having to remove their children from dearly loved schools. The private development in Faversham ignores key sections of our community. Those that want to downsize, first time buyers and families that work locally living in insecure rentals. For our town to thrive we must look at producing TRULY affordable housing. The desperation of families like mine, staring down the barrel of not being able to even afford to change rentals should their house be sold, cannot be understated. Community spirit can only be fostered if people feel like they have a credible opportunity to stay where they live. My hope is that the CLT will be part of improving this for all Faversham residents that feel frozen out of housing progression and ignored by developers for whatever reason." Hannah
For too long commercial developers have ignored the needs of local people. As Faversham has expanded and continues to do so, the houses being built are out of reach for local people. Too many young families have had to move out of the area to afford a good home, while many older people find themselves stuck in large family homes, seemingly unable to down size, and single people find it near impossible to move out of their parents homes. There are too many families caught in the trap of private rental, not knowing how long they can stay before rents increase too much or landlords chose to sell up.
If we are to unlock the potential of the town we must have really affordable housing that meets the needs of local people; housing that offers long term security so families can plan their lives; housing that deals with hidden homelessness. The community land trust offers an opportunity for the community to provide that housing in a sustainable way, and to protect the community from ever increasing housing costs in perpetuity. This is a project by the towns people for the towns people and one I hope will go someway to dealing with the housing issues we face." Ben
When we first came to Faversham I was in the Saturday market with my (then) 16 year old son when he said “They’re weird!” When I asked what he meant he said “people talk to you….” The woman next to us in the queue overheard and said with a smile “That’s because we care about each other in Faversham”. All these years later, I still think that’s true and is a big part of what makes Faversham such a wonderful place to live.
Over the past few years it has become more and more obvious that we don’t have enough of the right kind of accommodation to meet our needs. Stories abound of local people with strong connections to Faversham being forced to move away, families – working families - having to move back in with parents, people not able to work here because they can’t find or afford a place to live, young people ‘sofa surfing’ with friends. I’m sure you will have heard them too. It is now becoming increasingly clear that Faversham has too few affordable houses or flats to meet their needs.
Put those two things together – a tradition of looking after people and insufficient affordable housing - and you have the reason why I thought the Faversham Community Land Trust (FCLT) was worth backing.
We know that Faversham is now at the centre of a house building frenzy, but it’s clear that the houses on these developments will in the main, be too expensive and in many cases, too remote from the town to meet the needs of local people. By finding small plots of land and existing buildings in the town that can be then to developed into affordable homes for local people, the Faversham Community Land Trust can do something about that.
The other real benefit of the FCLT is that it is the people of the town that will own it and run it – not some big developer, nor the County Council, nor the Borough Council nor even the Town Council. Instead it will be run by (hopefully!) large numbers of local people who have shown their interest by joining the FCLT as a member. Members will have a vote about who is on the Trust Board and an ability to influence the decisions that it takes on their behalf.
So, local democracy and helping meet the housing needs of local people – that’s something worth working for!" Laurie
I have been part of the Faversham business community since moving here 22 years ago, and a Town Councillor for the last 8 years. The CLT appealed to me as a way to support the local business and trade prosperity/viability, keeping the town vibrant by being able to purchase properties that might otherwise be unsellable or untenantable, to restore these to a good standard to enable local businesses to rent from a local landlord (the CLT) and not the London landlords that do nothing to improve either their property or the viability of their tenants' businesses. Additionally, we would be able to convert the upper floors into reasonably priced accommodation for local people and keep the town occupied at night with a semi-residential feel, rather than deserted after hours. The general upgrade of some derelict or run-down properties can assist the visual appeal of the town enormously." Shiel
It is becoming more and more difficult for young people who have grown up in Faversham to afford a home and raise a family in the town. Affordable homes on new developments are often still out of reach. The Community Land Trust offers the opportunity to introduce innovative solutions that are more affordable for Faversham people." Geoff
In my early years I felt inner rage that I was in a fairly well paid job but couldn’t afford a home locally. In a developed society it is fundamental that people who have committed to the system by working for a living should have a place to live that they can afford. In the South East house prices are so high that so-called affordable housing remains largely unaffordable. It amounts to a social injustice if working people are not able to afford to house themselves, and by making land available for truly affordable housing, the CLT will help to address that problem.
I also see the CLT as being a useful tool for providing the land to improve and develop the town’s heritage assets around the creek with a view to improving the local economy and leisure access. There is little profit from heritage itself so developers prefer housing, but the CLT can provide space for heritage investment and development where the spin off in terms of jobs and tourism are significant." Peter
15 or so years ago one of the bar staff at the Albion told me that she was leaving her job because she could no longer afford to live in Faversham. Born in the town it meant moving away from her family. Since then too little really affordable housing has been built in Faversham and too much unaffordable. The Community Land Trust can do a little to develop really affordable housing in Faversham." Harold
The reason I was supportive was simply that there is very little affordable housing available in and around the town and this is not good for younger and lower paid individuals looking for somewhere to live. Also, developers appear to use "fancy footwork" to avoid providing affordable housing. Something needs to be done to address this issue and this initiative appears to be an excellent way to help to provide affordable housing in the area." Ian