Broadhempston Community Land Trust

South Devon

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Broadhempston CLT has been able to build 6 affordable homes

In a small South Devon village, six families undertook a challenging housing project: to build six affordable eco houses on a two acre site on the village edge. They obtained planning permission from Teignbridge Council in 2014 and moved in, in the summer of 2016.

Community Land Trusts are growing in number, as the housing market stretches ever further away from people who wish to live in areas with high house pricing in comparison to an area’s average wage earnings.  Villages are being occupied by an older generation as the younger people move away to find more affordable places to live, taking with them their children. This in itself affects the area as schools don’t have anyone to teach which can cause closures, and local shops and pubs struggle to remain in ever-dwindling populations. These community hubs simply cease to exist in many villages all over the UK.

“People should not have to move away from their families and their roots. By joining a CLT, they have an opportunity to stay.”

The fact that a team of locals joined forces, not just to build their own home but each other’s, is a celebration of community spirit stopping the disappearance of its life blood and reverses the trend of people moving away from their families and roots.

At the start of the project the group had very little in common except that they wanted to live in their village and could not afford to buy or even rent. All the families pulled together, with those having experience of building training and overseeing the work of those that didn’t. Childcare was shared when needed to allow families to work in the evenings and at weekends, as well as their day jobs. 
Broadhempston builders
Photo courtesy of Broadhempston CLT

With the support of external directors on the CLT board they were able to navigate financial and environmental issues. About half their time was taken up with planning, leases and funding, while the other half was on the actual build.  Having people on the CLT board who were not building their own homes gave them the security that finances were being kept under control and accountability was maintained. It also helped resolve minor disputes with people conceding for the greater good of the project.  If allowed to fester they could have led to the loss of the community spirit, but they didn’t and a mutual respect has been created through successfully building each others houses and changing each others lives for the better.

The pre-development loan of £45,000 from CAF Venturesome allowed Broadhempston CLT to develop and submit planning permission for the construction of 6 homes. The loan was repaid once the CLT refinanced through a conventional lender. The development allowed families to buy a three or four bedroom property for approximately 50% of the open market value making it affordable to people who work in the local area.

“CAF Venturesome provided us with £45,000 for a pre-development loan and treated us very sympathetically throughout our project.”

Broadhempston CLT
offers project tours for anyone interested in seeing the site and to learn more about the benefits of community-led housing schemes. They have also written a book, which is essential reading for anyone interested in setting up their own community-led housing group.

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