Please keep asking questions. We’ll update this list as we go on.
Q: How does the CLT pay for the land (freehold)?
A: The CLT’s housing association partner pays for the land by entering into a long-term lease with the landowner; the landowner then transfers the freehold to the CLT for £1. This means that, without having to fund-raise, the CLT becomes the freeholder; in other words the ‘landlord’ to the housing association’s ‘tenant’. These transactions are formalised in an Option Agreement which is signed by the CLT, HA and landowner before a planning application is submitted.
Q: How does the CLT identify a housing association partner?
A: Some HAs are interested and experienced in working with CLTs; others aren’t. Our adviser – the Wessex CLT Project – has worked with 4 HAs on over 20 CLT projects over the past 6 years and 2 more HAs are thought to be interested. There is a formal selection process involving an objective evaluation and the HA is selected which best suits the objectives of the CLT.
Q: How does the CLT ensure that homes are prioritised for local people?
A: If the CLT builds on an exception site (i.e. a site adjacent to Marshfield’s settlement boundary where housing development would not normally be permitted), then a legally binding planning agreement (known as a Section 106 Agreement) is that the homes must be prioritised for local people. It is only on this condition that planning permission would be granted and of course this accords completely with the CLT’s ethos. As the freeholder, the CLT would be party to this legal binding planning agreement and this means that it could not be changed without the CLT’s consent. If the homes are built within the settlement boundary, the CLT would require a similarly binding planning agreement to be put in place. The CLT also works with its HA-partner and South Gloucestershire Council to put an allocations plan in place which details the criteria by which people are deemed to have a local connection i.e. the minimum length of time they should have lived or worked in the village, or had family connections here.
Q: If residents are tenants of the housing association, would they have the right-to-buy their homes?
A: No. This is because tenants cannot buy their homes under the Government’s new Right to Buy where there are legal barriers to prevent it. For CLTs, the legally binding planning agreement (known as a Section 106 Agreement) requires the homes to be affordable in perpetuity. In addition, the CLT’s long-term lease with its HA-partner would prevent the HA from ever selling homes under the Right to Buy without the CLT’s permission.
Q: Who makes the planning application?
A: As a community-led organisation, CLTs can apply for grants to carry out feasibility work and make planning applications. This grant is used by CLTs to appoint architects, surveyors, engineers, ecologists etc and to meet planning fees; all helping to ensure that the design of the homes has the community’s support.
Q: As a first project, how does Marshfield CLT ensure it has the professional expertise needed?
A: We receive significant support from Wessex Community Land Trust Project which has successfully supported 10 CLTs who have housing up and running and is currently working with an additional 16 CLTs across the Somerset, Devon and Dorset area. In most cases, the CLT works with a housing association (HA), using a form of partnership developed by WCLTP and this is the model we intend to follow.
WCLTP help co-ordinate and support the partnership as required; its main focus being on support for Marshfield CLT as a new community organisation to ensure successful completion of the project. This support will include advice on legal structures and legal advisers, planning of capital funding, advice on the choice of HA partner, facilitation of public meetings and steering group meetings, provision of model documentation such a precedent lease, co-ordination of grant applications, timescale and risk planning, training for CLT, and networking with other CLTs. A full schedule of services is available here.
Q: What does the support from Wessex CLT project cost the Marshfield CLT?
A: As a condition of its original seed-corn grant, WCLTP recovers its costs at £2,666/home + VAT from successful projects. Where projects are procured through partnerships, cost recovery is through the housing association (as the party with the capital funding). It therefore costs the MCLT nothing.