Grant awarded to help community group become local developer

29 November 2017

A £4,500 Council grant will allow a group in Cottenham to become the first community organisation in South Cambridgeshire to bring forward their own affordable housing schemes.

The funding allows the Cottenham Community Land Trust Steering Group to set up their own Community Land Trust (CLT) as a legal entity.

It gives the group the power to plan and deliver their own, locally-designed, affordable housing schemes. It will have its own constitution and structure, and be independent from both South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cottenham Parish Council.

The Cottenham CLT is looking to deliver up to 30 affordable homes in the village during a 15-year period. These properties will only be available to people with a connection to the village. They will be built in addition to other developments that are delivered via the normal planning process.

The group will now begin community engagement work and start the process of identifying land that can be built upon by asking local people for suggestions.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has just over £50,000 of funding to distribute to groups looking to bring forward similar plans, as part of the Government’s Community Housing Fund. This was a fund announced in 2016 aimed at helping to boost the number of affordable homes delivered by community-led housing groups.

The project is being run in conjunction with CLT East who have helped deliver community-led housing in East Cambridgeshire.

Before applying for funding groups can also have free help and advice from a CLT East technical adviser, who will complete a report of findings and recommendations for the group.

Cllr Lynda Harford, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Local Member for Cottenham, said: “This is a real grass-roots way of bringing forward new homes in a village, that puts local people firmly in the driving seat to deliver them. Over the next few years I really hope that Community Land Trusts will become firmly embedded as another option for delivering affordable housing in our villages. This really is a local community driven form of housing delivery through which local people contribute both the ideas and land to provide homes to satisfy need in villages like Cottenham.”

You can find out more about setting up a Community Land Trust by visiting the CLT East website.