Report on village consultation meeting July 21 2018

 Notes on MCLT Consultation meeting: July 21 2018: Community Centre 12noon

Chair: Christine Eden

All MCLT Board present: Oliver Shirley, David Dodd, Simon Turner, Ian Dawes, Jim Brookes, Ian Jones, Jenny Gibbons.

Approx. 106 members of community attended.

The meeting started with a welcome and introductions to:

  • the MCLT Board & Steve Watson , the affordable housing advisor from Wessex Community Land Trust Project which deals with 40 CLTs across the south west
  • the role of CLTs in being able to acquire and hold assets that benefit the community in perpetuity
  • MCLT’s first project is to build affordable housing for people with a housing need and strong local connection
  • this meeting is bringing a site to the community at early stage to identify if village support proposal

Purpose of meeting:

  • to get an ‘in principle’ support for proposed site and if received, MCLT will then proceed to undertake a feasibility study to check site is appropriate.
  • to listen to comments and to answer questions.

Brief account of process of site search: Working within South Glos policy of Rural Exception Sites. This means that affordable housing to meet local needs can be permitted on sites where market housing would not normally be acceptable. Must be for people with a housing need and with a local connection -exactly what the MCLT is aiming to do. Policy also allows for small number of market homes.

 Site search since July 2016 involved 4 stages:

1.Used large scale maps and aerial photos to identify every potential development site in and around the village and came up with a total of 31 sites adjacent to the village boundary.

2.Assessed sites against no of criteria in a systematic way: used South Glos Council’s guidelines on searching for sites in rural communities: eg size, access, relationship to the settlement, etc, took advice based on other CLT experiences, informal advice from SGC planners and drew on local experience and knowledge e.g. effects of possible development on traffic, parking, existing services, site gradient, views in and out of the village, level of anticipated community acceptance etc.

3.Then approached a number of owners that best met criteria to see if would sell site ; some negotiations went on for a long time- endless emails, meetings, drawing up Heads of Terms. But not possible to reach an agreement that was acceptable to owners and the MCLT.

  1. Reviewed position and adopted alternative approach.

Phase 2 followed same process but:

  1. Identified sites close to settlement boundary but not adjacent
  2. Assessed these sites against our criteria
  3. Opened negotiations with land owners by offering small number of market plots in exchange for the land for affordable houses and some MCLT market plots. Could do this because rural exception site policy allows for a small number of market houses.
  4. Negotiations with land owners led to current position where a site seems appropriate and available.

Steve Watson showed some CLT sites at various stages of build.

Indicates how a CLT and a community working together can actually deliver affordable homes for local people in our community.

Discussion of site:

1.6 acres. Not adjacent to  but east of school: owned by Mike Ball.

No of factors make site a possibility including fact that site falls within SGC exception sites policy.

Proposing a scheme of 18 homes:

  • 12 affordable house, prioritised for local people- rent and shared ownership depending on Housing need survey
  • 3 market plots for MCLT which will be used by the CLT to cross subsidise the affordable housing and help get rents to a level which are genuinely affordable
  • 3 plots for the owner in recognition of providing the other 15 plots at no cost to the MCLT.

Questions from meeting

Questions Answers
Will there be a footpath / access that’s not on the main road for people to access services? Will carry out technical feasibility work. Access a key issue. Feel sure S Glos will insist on a pedestrian link.
What’s the constraint on plot size, why not take it to farm?


Farmer wanted to ensure there was a buffer between the farm buildings and new buildings
Will there be parking facilities with each house Yes, can’t build without making parking available
Why not choose plot closer to the school?


Not owned by the landowner of the MCLT proposed site
Will the speed limit along the road be changed?


Don’t know, points of access and speed limit will need to be addressed with Highways, -if we want planning permission we will have to meet their demands.
Logical to be east of the village. But why is it to the right of the spare land next to the school Owner of plot next to school told meeting that MCLT had been offered 12 plots of the greenbelt site to east of school as part of larger development to include doctor’s surgery. They are taking professional advice & at early stages. Not yet clear what will be a commercially viable scheme. Want a dialogue with the village and S Glos on this.

MCLT responded that they need a rural exception site for local connection to be given priority. Also issue of timing and MCLT approach is about community led development so not accepted this offer.

Can the piece of land be divided so that some is rural exception site and some not?


MCLT had requested this but that offer not available.


What would be the cost of the houses? Not for sale : mainly rent with some shared ownership


What is shared ownership? Some down payment. Mortgage for some of it and pay rent on remainder


Will the houses proposed never be fully owned by anybody?


Correct – has to be held by MCLT for the benefit of the community in perpetuity
Will shared ownership allow ‘stair casing’?


Only to limit of 80% ownership (and at that point anticipated owner would move on)


Comments also made about the advantages of trying to work together as a community.

Meeting thanked MCLT for their work in pursuing the affordable housing project.

Indication of level of support

David Dodd asked meeting to indicate general level of approval of proposed site. Not a formal vote but a straw pole to give MCLT a broad feeling of support so can move on to the next stage of a feasibility study. This will draw on the expertise of housing associations and professionals such as architects and surveyors to ensure that the site is viable and feasible for our affordable housing project. As that progresses MCLT will bring planning application back for consultation.

Very strong support: 100 indicated support, no-one against and 6 abstentions.

Meeting closed with thanks to all who attended for interest and support. Also thanks to members, Parish Council and Ben Stokes and Steve Reade our SG councillors for their support. Recognised that many hurdles yet to jump.

Reminder of Housing Need Survey whose results will be important for the MCLT. Outline of MCLT proposal available as a handout. MCLT always pleased to hear comments, and suggestions through our website. MCLT will keep village informed of developments and will consult on planning application.

Proposed Affordable Housing Site

The news you have all been waiting for!

At the packed informal consultation meeting held at noon on 21st July 2018 the MCLT board announced the location of the proposed site. See the location in  Handout 2 provided at the meeting.

At the show of hands at the end of the meeting there was was overwhelming support for the MCLT board to move to a full feasibility study. There were some abstentions and no objections.




July 21st consultation background

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MCLT Consultation meeting July 21st 2018

Marshfield Community Centre Small Hall 12.00 noon

Background to development of MCLT and its site search

MCLT Governance and membership

  • MCLT is a not- for-private – profit, community benefit society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • CLTs can own land  and  other  assets  which  are of benefit and important to the  community and then are held in perpetuity for the community.
  • Most CLTs have started with securing affordable housing for people and families with a local connection but also explore other community benefits.
  • CLTs aims to ensure that local people remain in control of local assets.
  • CLTs develop  and  manage  these  assets  in  partnership  with  g. Housing Associations to  ensure  their  long-term  sustainability.
  • MCLT is open to membership to all supporting its aims and agree to the ways of working set out by the Rules and the MCLT standing orders.
  • Membership of MCLT is by purchase  of  shares  at  £1
  • The MCLT  is  managed  by  a  Board  of  Directors  elected by members and  accountable to its members[1].

Why a CLT was set up in Marshfield

The catalyst was the serious divisions within the Marshfield community revealed due to a developer wanting to erect 37 houses following a Housing Need Survey which indicated a considerable level of affordable housing need in Marshfield[2].

There was a strong negative reaction that can be summarised thus;

  • the scheme was too big;
  • it would spoil the local landscape; and,
  • people of the village did not want any more market development but support for affordable housing for people with local connections.

At an informal meeting the scheme was voted against by large majority & a petition against the development was signed by 500 people.

The developer withdrew leaving the affordable housing problem unresolved.

This led to emergence of Marshfield CLT.

Emergence of MCLT

Wessex CLT Project were approached and an introductory meeting with Parish Councillors and other interested parties held. Over 70 people attended a public meeting to launch a CLT project chaired by the Chairman of the Parish Council. More than 70 people attended.

The meeting set up a steering committee of 15 people to take things forward.

By July 2016 we had;

  • set up Marshfield CLT as a Community Benefit Society under Financial Services Agency signing up to the Rules under the Cooperative Act 2014;
  • established a board of directors;
  • gained the active support of the Parish Council and District Councillors;
  • canvassed for support locally and gained more than 155 members/shareholders; and,
  • agreed that first project would be to develop affordable housing and began search for sites[3].

CLTs and rural exception sites

The MCLT board wanted a site for shared ownership and properties for rent to meet the need identified in the 2013 Housing Need survey which reported:

“there is a realistic demand for shared ownership in the parish but affordable rented homes are the tenure most likely to meet long term, local need in the village.”

This conclusion was based on the information given about the type and size of housing needed and the mortgage capacity of respondents rather than their wants and aspirations.

We hoped that finding a site would be helped by the fact that national and local policy allows affordable housing to be developed on rural exception sites which would not usually be granted planning permission such as green belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty because of planning policy constraints.[4]

Legislation states that building in these areas can be permitted where  there  is  a  need  for  affordable  housing  by  people  with  a  local  connection – those who are either current residents or have an existing family or employment connection. Small numbers of market homes may be allowed at the local authority’s discretion.

All this seemed to put Marshfield CLT into a good position as we set about finding a rural exception site which could be purchased at a price appropriate for affordable housing.

First site searches phase

Since July 2016, MCLT has looked at a wide range of sites of about 0.75-1.5 acres around and close to Marshfield, initially drawing on South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) criteria which covers aspects such as;

  • relationship of proposed sites to the existing settlement;
  • highway and pedestrian access and safety;
  • environmental factors, such as landscape form and character, flooding, archaeology and historic character, ecology, agricultural land quality etc.; and,
  • implications of any relevant planning policy such as Green Belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We also used our own experience and knowledge to explore factors such as  site gradient ,  the risk to significant views/vistas, negative effects on village gateways, parking, unacceptable volume of traffic within  the village, parking implications, effects on existing facilities, impact on utilities & services and the degree to which a site is likely  to  be  broadly  supported  by  the  village  community.

Using these criteria we identified a group of preferred sites and talked to number of landowners using a cash exchange model but didn’t have any success in getting a site. We just couldn’t attract interest or address the hope value that SGC might change the settlement boundary.

The MCLT board revised the site selection process as it became clear that we could not secure a site through our initial approach.

Second phase of site search leading to our preferred site

Planning policies on exception sites include the phrase ‘related to’ so we began to negotiate with land owners whose land is close to the settlement boundary but not adjacent.

We also used the possibility within planning policies which allows a small number of market houses to be built on rural exception sites along with the affordable homes. We agreed to offer a small number of market plots to the land owners in exchange for the land for affordable houses The same number of market plots would then be used by the CLT to cross subsidise the affordable housing and help get rents to a level which are genuinely affordable. This approach also will provide a mix of tenures and types of housing which is typical of much of Marshfield houses.

No more than a 1/3 of the houses would be market housing. This means on a site suitable for 18 houses, 3 would be market plots for the owner, 3 will be market plots which will cross subsidise the affordable houses and 12 will be affordable housing to include some for rent and some for shared ownership depending in part on what the new housing Need Survey tells us. Such a development will be subject to SGC policies that take account of environmental considerations including landscape and the impact on the openness of the Green Belt and AONB.

The conversations using our new approach have been successful. We have had 3 owners with interest in working with us and are now bringing you our preferred option.

Who is eligible for the affordable homes

Affordable housing is not just for people wanting to live in Marshfield, they also have to have a housing need. To establish this, the  CLT,  SGC and  the  housing  association  will work together to  approve  the  criteria  for  allocating  the  homes.  Criteria will cover two key areas:

  • how long has a person lived or worked in the village or  whether a person has  family  who  have  lived  in  the  parish; and,
  • whether the information given about the type and size of housing needed and the mortgage capacity of respondents identifies them as being in housing need and eligible for affordable housing.

This will be verified by anyone who wants to be considered for an affordable home needing to register on the SGC Home Choice register.

What happens if the site is supported by the village

The MCLT  will secure a grant  to carry out a feasibility study which will:

  • Identify a housing association for MCLT to work with who will fund, build and manage the homes,  taking  the  development  risks and works with  SGC to allocate  the  homes  in  line  with  criteria  approved  by  the  MCLT;
  • appoint surveyors;
  • chose an architect  who will help design the houses and submit  a pre- planning  application; and,
  • bring the design back to the village for consultation and comments before submitting a planning application.

The  MCLT  will  own  the  site  and  lease  it  to  the  housing  association  for  125  years and  will receive a small ground rent which will support the running of the MCLT and new projects.

[1] See MCLT website for more detail on CLTs

Also Wessex Community Land Trust Project that supports 40 CLTs across the south west

[2] Housing  Need Survey 2013

[3] Reflects concerns such as that expressed by the Rural Coalition Report 2107:

  • “Across rural England there is a severe and growing shortage of affordable housing for local people. Many areas are turning into enclaves of the affluent”.

[4] SGC Exception sites

Affordable Housing can also be developed on land which is well related to a rural settlement through the Council’s exception site policy (CS19). This allows building which would not usually be granted planning permission because of planning policy constraints. A small proportion of market housing may be included to assist in delivering a viable scheme.

This type of development can be justified where it meets an identified  housing need, has the support of the appropriate Parish Council and the development is modest in scale and in keeping with the form and character of the settlement and local landscape setting. (2018: p3  South Gloucestershire Council’s Rural Affordable Housing Statement of Commitment).

See SGC CS19 for more detail