(highlighted terms explained below)
High Ham Affordable Housing Steering Group will soon be incorporated as a Community Land Trust, and will be known as High Ham Community Land Trust. High Ham CLT will take an appropriate legal form known as a Community Benefit Society, and will be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
High Ham CLT’s mission is to:
- provide Affordable Homes for Rent (a Housing Needs survey revealed the need for 5 affordable homes in the parish);
- work with, for and within the community to achieve this;
- encourage people to join as members of the CLT;
- encourage people to register with Homefinder Somerset if needing an affordable home;
- work in partnership with a Housing Association to find a site, and get a project underway using a model developed and supported by Wessex CLT Project .
Using this model:
- High Ham CLT will, with support from Wessex CLT Project, find a site and negotiate terms for acquisition of the freehold.
- The acquisition of the site and physical development will be undertaken and paid for by the Housing Association. High Ham CLT will have input into things such as design and layout.
- High Ham CLT will own the land on which the homes are sited, and the Housing Association will be the leaseholder.
- Once the homes are built and occupied, High Ham CLT will receive a ground rent which can be invested in other community activities.
High Ham CLT, if it ever had cause to be wound up, would be required to transfer its assets to a local and similarly ‘asset-locked’ organisation, such as the Parish Council.
High Ham CLT is not affiliated to, and is independent from, High Ham Parish Council
Community Land Trust - a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now, but for every future occupier.
Community Benefit Society - run primarily for the benefit of the community at large, rather than just for members of the society. This means that it must have an overarching community purpose that reaches beyond its membership, and have a special reason for being a community benefit society rather than a company, such as wanting to have democratic decision-making built into its structure. Although a community benefit society has the power to pay interest on members’ share capital, it cannot distribute surpluses to members in the form of dividends. A community benefit society can opt to have a statutory asset lock, which has the same strength as the asset lock for a charity.
Affordable Homes for Rent - these homes are available from a council or Housing Association. Rents are at least 20% below local market rents.
Homefinder Somerset - is a partnership of local authorities and housing associations who are working together to make the process of finding a home simple and transparent for all applicants across Somerset. It is a way of finding a home to rent which lets you select the home you would like to be considered for. Almost anyone can apply to join the scheme including existing tenants who would like to transfer.
Wessex CLT Project has worked with over 40 Community Land Trusts across Devon, Somerset and Dorset, providing comprehensive support on set-up, finance, planning, project management and governance.