COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS
What is a Community Land Trust (CLT) ?
It is a community- led organisation, operating in and for a defined geographical community, usually the area of a Town or Parish Council. What is most important is that the community area is one that people identify with as somewhere they live and/or work. The CLT is run by local volunteers. It is set up to develop and own land and buildings the community needs. It holds that property in trust - it can never be sold for private profit. Any surplus from the CLT's activities is reinvested in that community. A CLT is legally defined in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, but must still be registered as a Community Benefit Society, Community Interest Company or Company Limited by Guarantee. These types of legal structure provide those who become involved, with defined governance and limited liability protection.
How are individuals involved ? CLTs help communities become more resilient and sustainable by giving all those living and/or working over 16 years of age a stake (through a £1 share for life) in the CLT assets; and a say in what the CLT does through membership, or standing and being elected as a Director. The test of whether a CLT is fit for purpose will include the clarity of the vision and its relevance to local people; the size of the membership and their involvement; and the transparency of how it conducts its business. These give credibility to the CLT in the eyes of local people, local government, government agencies and the business community.
What do CLTs do? There are over 170 CLTs across England and Wales. The majority either have housing in place or are well on their way to building affordable homes. They are located where people have come together to build affordable homes or refurbish derelict homes for local people in housing need; build a village hall or community centre; rescue shops and pubs; grow food ,on allotments and through community orchards and farms; plant and manage woodland - to create a better quality of life for all.
Alone or in partnership ? A CLT may obtain funding, develop, manage and maintain the community asset itself. Alternatively, it might enter into partnership with a Housing Association or other organisation or enterprise. However, the community always retains control, through the CLT holding the freehold or the long leasehold of the asset.
You are never on your own. Advice and financial assistance is available specifically for communities wishing to set up a CLT - to develop the vision, prepare a business plan, become registered and obtain professional advice. As well as loans to purchase land and build homes. The National CLT Network (website below) is an independent social enterprise with full time staff . One of its roles is to manage the CLT Start Up Fund , through which grants and loans are available. There is a network of regional umbrella CLTs which exist to provide advice and support, including the Wiltshire CLT. There are CLT Technical Advisors, who will work with your community to help build the competence and confidence to set up a CLT and develop assets for the benefit of the community. There are also the volunteers themselves who have set up a CLT in their own community and developed assets, who are keen to share their experience with those just starting out.
To find out more. Go to the website www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk Author: Ian Crawley.CLT Technical