In high income countries, well meaning government programs often make an impact when they are implemented. However, long-term impact can disintegrate when the government hands the program over to citizens.  For example, many governments subsidize housing in some way.  But once a family is able to purchase a home, market prices increase over time. When the family sells the home, the price may no longer be affordable.  In this way, the public money used to subsidize the purchase of a home vanishes.

The Land Trust movement is a global model aimed at maintaining affordable housing through shared equity. One such group, Broadhempston Community Land Trust demonstrates how public subsidies can maintain the impact they were intended to achieve.

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Broadhempston Community Land Trust is a Community Interest Company that was set up in 2012 to enable local people, in housing need, to develop affordable eco-housing.

In the summer of 2014 Broadhempston CLT obtained planning permission from Teignbridge Council to develop 6 affordable, self-build, eco-houses. In October of this year Broadhempston CLT obtained funding to purchase the land and start the development.

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Building the Foundations

The ground works for the site started in January 2015. For the groundworks we employed a local building firm from Ashburton, called Brayshaw Developments Limited. We have contracted them to build the access road to the houses, the site drainage and the 6 foundations for the houses.

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  • By opting for a simple, broadly identical house design across all the homes, and bulk buying the materials, significant cost savings have been achieved
  • Don’t underestimate the support you may get from the local community on a project that provides homes for local people on low incomes – in this case the land was sold to the group at agricultural values and local people have volunteered to help with the construction work
  • The timber shell for each home cost around £25,000 each – the self builders felt it was worth paying for this to be built by an external contractor to give them a ‘head start’ and to ensure they could then work in all weathers
  • Check out the location of utility connections, and get them organised well in advance of the planned start of construction work
  • Because the slab and shell was built by contractors this gave the group a ‘head start’, and meant the homes could be realistically built within about nine months
  • People in housing need and on low incomes can use the planning system to help them to get planning permission on land that others would not qualify for. These ‘Exception Site’ opportunities come with some strings attached, but on balance they are a very effective way of delivering land for affordable homes
  • Expect costs to rise – so develop a design that is simple and buildable!

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Community Land Trust own the freehold

The CLT is constituted as a Community Interest Company and is made up of local people. It will own the freehold of the land and 25% of the value of the houses in perpetuity to enable them to be always affordable and available to local people in housing need. Any local resident who supports the CLT may join and in future the CLT could go on to develop other community assets.

Shared ownership

The residents will own 25% of the equity in their house by virtue of having put in the labour (sweat equity) to build it. They will then have the option to buy another 50% on a ‘rent to buy’ arrangement, gradually buying further equity in the property up to 75%. This is funded by a loan to the CLT from the newly established CLT Rental Fund. No rent will be payable on the 25% owned by the CLT. If residents wish to move on, they will only be able to sell their equity to people meeting the Allocation Policy.

Photo by Joi

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