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.