MCLT Planning Approval in Principle


MCLT is delighted to have received planning permission in principle , conditional upon agreeing a Section 106 with SGC, for the development of affordable housing for rent on a rural exception site at Garston Farm.  

It has taken 4 years to acquire a site and get planning permission so this feels like a very significant milestone. It could not have been achieved without support from the Parish Council, our District Councillors and Marshfield community.

The application received a powerful endorsement from Marshfield community with 79 letters of support and just 2 letters of objection from local residents.

As expected, approval requires MCLT to agree a Section 106 with South Gloucestershire Council. This will address issues such as affordability, facilities and priority for local connections and this process is now underway.

We know there is still a lot of work to do before building work begins and homes are ready to be lived in but it’s good to celebrate this important moment.

MCLT Board May 2020

Planning application submitted

On 24th December MarshfieldCLT submitted the planning application for 18 dwellings to the east of Marshfield. The application in publicly available on the South Gloucestershire planning portal.

There are 45 documents associated with this application. The two that give the overview of the application are the Design and Access Statements.  Comments in support would be very welcome and of course you can also make objections if you wish. Comments  have to be made by Feb 13th 2020. A reminder that this application is for a rural exception site which can only be considered for planning approval because it meets certain planning policy criteria. These include a requirement that the development is small scale and that homes will be for  people in housing need with a local connection. Any planning approval will be subject to a legal agreement  to ensure that the properties will always remain available at an affordable price for people in housing need and prioritised for those with a local connection.    

Latest news on MCLT Affordable Housing Project August 2019

Affordable Housing project

As you will know, last year MCLT entered into a partnership with Mike and Anne Ball to explore a possible site for affordable housing, west of the Garston Farm buildings. After the village meeting at the end of July where there was strong support for the CLT proposal, we interviewed architects and housing associations and appointed Reed Watts as our architect and United Communities as our housing association partner.

We applied for a grant from Homes England in November 2018 to enable us to carry out a full feasibility study of the Garston Farm site.  It took a little time for the grant to be approved but in March 2019 work started in earnest and specialist consultants have now been employed to provide a series of reports on the archaeology, landscape, ecology and topology of the site as well as the technical aspect of land structure, utilities and highways. These reports have provided a significant amount of information and our architect, Reed Watts, has coordinated this data as they have developed a draft scheme for the site.

Planning Process

An indicative scheme has now been sent to South Gloucestershire Council for discussion through what is known as the Pre-app process. This advice is important in addressing major concerns such as access and the way a development will fit into the local environment so it is important that we get that advice even though we know it may take some time before we can meet with South Gloucestershire planners.

The draft application will be amended in the light of this advice and brought to the village so we can take your views into account. Following that consultation and any further amendments, a final planning application will then be made.

We hope to get planning permission to build 12 affordable homes; a mix of 1-beds flats, 2 beds and 3-beds houses for rent and shared ownership, and 6 market houses. Three of these are plots for a return for the landowner and three will be open market houses to help finance the affordable homes.  Planning consent will be subject to a Section 106 Agreement restricting occupancy of the affordable homes to local people in perpetuity.

The application will be for planning consent under South Gloucestershire Council’s policy on Rural Exception Sites which can allow development in the Green Belt and AONB when the application is for affordable housing for local people. Such proposals are strengthened if they are community led initiatives such as ours.

In 2018 Marshfield Parish Council commissioned a Housing Needs Survey which was carried out by South Gloucestershire Council. This survey confirmed the findings of the 2013 survey and indicated that there is still a need in Marshfield for housing for people with local connections. The Parish Council have confirmed their support for the findings of The Housing Needs Survey and this will strengthen the MCLT planning application.

Key Planning Concerns

In our discussions of the site we have been aware that the houses will be close to a cluster of agricultural buildings and the architect’s initial indicative design has been sympathetic to this context. Another key aim is to charge as low a rent as possible.  The rented houses will be available either at Affordable Rents (defined as 80% of market rents for similar properties, subject to be capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate) or, if we can achieve it, at Social Rents which are significantly lower.  We want to incorporate some low-energy measures and also are looking for opportunities to maximise biodiversity and green space across the site but these will have to be balanced against build costs and achieving affordability for residents.

Allocation of houses

We are hopeful that planning permission may be granted towards the end of 2019. It is unlikely that houses will be available to live in before 2021 but we have already begun to think about the criteria that will be used in allocating the houses.

Allocation of these houses will be in accordance with ‘local connection’ criteria agreed by MCLT. Applicants will need to register with South Gloucestershire Council’s HomeChoice to verify their need for affordable housing.

Closer to the time when people are thinking of applying, the MCLT intends to provide workshops to clarify the HomeChoice application process.

Building and managing the homes

United Communities Housing Association will play a very significant role once we have received planning permission. They will fund, develop and manage the rented accommodation homes as well as managing the sale of market houses and shared ownership. The freehold of the houses remains with the MCLT.

Please contact any member of the MCLT board if you would like more information or have any thoughts on the work of MCLT.

The MCLT Board

Christine Eden (Chair- 01225 891525, Oliver Shirley, Simon Turner, Jim Brookes, Ian Jones, Ian Dawes, Ros Snow

MCLT response to removal of affordability criteria Bences Close

Marshfield Community Land Trust does not own the assets under question or have any legal right to intervene in this dispute but we are active in promoting affordable housing and are concerned at the potential loss of any affordable housing in Marshfield.

A recent Housing Needs Survey, commissioned by Marshfield Parish Council and conducted by South Gloucestershire Council, identified a continuing unfulfilled need for affordable housing for local people in Marshfield. Any loss of existing affordable housing stock would be a retrograde step. MCLT would therefore wish to register its opposition to this application. This case highlights the important role a Community Land Trust can play in providing housing which remains affordable in perpetuity and whose status is not vulnerable to legal challenge.

MCLT Grant has arrived

The MCLT grant for a feasibility study has now arrived.

The MCLT recently has had some good news.

After four months of waiting we have finally received the grant from Homes England that allows us to undertake the feasibility study on our affordable housing project and preferred site. We now have some of the grant funding in our bank account and have been able to send out contracts to our various consultants who will help with our feasibility study.

We need to get reports from: a ground engineer; an engineer; an ecologist; an archaeologist; a topographical surveyor and a landscape architect. All these reports will then go to the project architects who are Reed Watts from London and Bath who will bring all that data together and make some suggestions of design and site layout. They will be working also with our Housing Association, United Communities from Bristol.

We will be bringing those ideas back to the village for consultation before we submit a planning application. It is only at the point when we know a planning application is successful that we finally enter into the legal and binding contract with the landowner.

There’s a long way to go before we have homes for local people to live in but it feels as if the dream is slowly turning into reality.

Please get in touch with any of the Board with queries or ideas.

From: Christine Eden, Chair ( ) 01225 891525

Board members: Oliver Shirley, Simon Turner, Jenny Gibbons, Ian Jones, Ian Dawes, Jim Brookes, Ros Snow.

MCLT and its hopes for 2019

Happy New Year to all our readers!

MCLT is expecting to hear any day now from Homes England that we have cleared the final hurdle in our grant application  to undertake a feasibility study on our proposed site.

We seem to have been waiting for some while but understand there are a lot of applications which have to be carefully scrutinised and all MCLT Board members have had to be put through what is called a ‘due diligence’ process. This all seems right and proper  but it is hard waiting for the final letter of approval.

When we hear from Homes England we will let you all know. Then we can get on with  exploring our proposed site and all being well, bring a draft design proposal  to the village for consultation.