What is a Community Land Trust (CLT)?

CLTs are non-profit, community-based organisation that are run by representative (volunteer) directors who develop housing and other assets, such as business units, that are owned and controlled by the community.

  • A CLT must be set up to benefit a defined local community - the individuals who live or work, or want to live or work within the area.
  • A CLT must be not-for-profit - they can, and should, make a surplus as a community business, but that surplus must be used to benefit the community.
  • Local people must be able to join the CLT - those living and working within the community must have the opportunity to join the CLT as members if they support the CLTs aims.
  • Members control the CLT - members must have a controlling vote in Annual General Meetings and the Board, though other stakeholders can be included in the governance.

Median house prices in West Devon and the South Hams are 11.3 times the median wage.

Why are CLTs set up?

  • Lack of affordable housing - There may be a lack of affordable homes within the parish or neighbourhood. Local people may be moving out of the place they call home because of rising prices, and the community wants to do something about it.
  • Turning around local areas - The area might have suffered years of decline and disinvestment, leaving empty properties and blight, and the community want to make better use of the housing and improve their neighbourhood.
  • Shaping the local area, long term - Maybe a landowner or developer wants to vest the public facilities and green space in their new development into a trust. The CLT can steward them for the long term and continue to develop the place long after the developer has built their last home.

What are the Benefits?

  • Local people can play a leading and lasting role in solving housing problems within their community, helping to create genuinely affordable homes, legally protected for
  • their lifetime.
  • Properties are held by the CLT and are not subject to Right-to-Buy legislation. Unlocking smaller pockets of land for development that specifically meet housing need within the area.
  • Through involving the local community in decision-making, the CLT is locally controlled, which will helps to reflect local needs.
  • CLTs can also help to enforce affordability restrictions and to help ensure that priority is given to people with local connection to the neighbourhood or parish.

What's the Council's role?

The Council is committed to supporting the growth of CLTs and can provide a range of tailored support measures including:

  • Guidance and specialist advice for setting up a CLT and incorporating as a legal entity.
  • Funding - The Council can provide direct financial assistance in certain cases. In addition, as a Local Authority Registered Provider, the Council has to access to a number of sources, including Homes England grant funding.
  • Provision of internal and outsourced technical, financial and legal resource to steer projects through the development process from site acquisition to construction.
  • Use of SeaMoor Lettings, our in-house management company to arrange and manage tenancy agreements or sales.

Does it really work?

Yes - there have been two success stories locally already!

In Chagford (West Devon)Chagford Community Trust partnered with a developer (C G Fry) and a housing association, to provide the community with 28 new homes that were a mix of shared ownership and affordable rent.

The development also included a new public car park, a fire station and new business units. It was completed in 2020.

In the South HamsTransition Homes Community Land Trust are developing a scheme of 31 eco-homes in Dartington parish. The majority of these homes (70%) are to be affordable rent and shared ownership for people with a local connection.

The affordable housing units include studios for young people, flats for adults with learning disabilities, and general needs properties.

How can I find out more?

If you want any more information about Community Land Trusts, email the affordable housing team.