Project snapshot

Development of 12 new homes fpr affordable rent tenancy
To provide an affordable place to live for local people with a strong connection to the villages of Brockham and Betchworth

The cause

A philanthropic gift, the commitment of trustees to a decade-long project and CAF Bank's support. These are the foundations of a new build scheme in Surrey, to make affordable accommodation available for people who otherwise may not have been able to stay in the area.

High property prices mean that the availability of housing is a worry for many local people. The Poland Trust, a locally-based charity and Almshouse Association member, has been looking at ways to meet the need for affordable homes, so that the community can continue to flourish.

The Trust's main aim is to help people in need, hardship or distress who have a connection to the villages of Brockham, Betchworth, Buckland and Leigh. It was set up with the financial support of Sidney Michael Poland who lived in the area. He died in 1936, leaving funds and property for the benefit of local villagers. Originally, the charity helped older residents to find suitable homes for retirement. In recent years, it began exploring how to help young people stay in the area by providing social housing.


Our support

After nearly ten years of searching for a suitable site, The Poland Trust is developing Poland Meadow. 12 homes are being constructed on land gifted by a local family. These flats and houses will be rented to tenants at 60% of market rate, with priority given to those with a strong connection to the local area.  The development also includes five self-build plots, which the Trust has sold to local residents at 75% of market value. A covenant means that these can only be sold on at 80% of market value and have to be offered to people in the local community.

Getting this project off the ground relied on support from a number of sources, including the Trust’s own resources, a grant from Mole Valley District Council, proceeds from the self-build plots and a bank loan.

CAF Bank was selected to provide long-term finance. Following discussions to understand the needs of the project, we were able to provide a secured loan which was drawn down in summer 2022.


The impact

The development provides for letting four one-bedroom flats, two one-bedroom houses, five two-bedroom houses, and one three bedroom-house. In collaboration with The Almshouse Association, all the homes are designated as almshouses, in line with other properties run by the charity. The first four units are occupied by tenants with an average age of around 30.

“I never thought I would be able to live independently in the village and community where I grew up, because of housing costs in the area so this lovely new flat is a life-changing opportunity for me and I am extremely grateful for it,” said one new Poland Meadow resident.

Project takeaways

A challenge might have multiple solutions

The inclusion of self-build units assisted The Poland Trust in making the project financials stack up, as well as providing a different option for those for whom rental properties are not a suitable solution.

Know your local environment

The Trustees of the charity are all local and know that the area floods. With this knowledge they invested approximately £300,000 installing a reservoir for surface water, so they can control the release of water into the local catchment area.

Engage with the local community and employ local firms where possible

The architect of the project has lived in a local village all his life, the builders are based nearby and the building standards supervisor lives in the area.

We recognised some time ago the need for social housing for the younger generation, to supplement our existing almshouses which cater for older beneficiaries.

We are immensely grateful to CAF Bank and all the supporters of this development, which will provide high quality homes for current and future residents. The greatest reward has been the reaction of the new residents as they move in.

Andrew Barrett


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