Parracombe Parish Council are proposing that a Community Land Trust is set up for the benefit of the village.
What is a Community Land Trust?
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are non-profit community-led associations, set up and run by ordinary people for the wider benefit of the community to develop and manage homes as well as other assets such as shops and pubs. The Community Land Trust movement is relatively young however, with more communities wanting to take the future of their villages and neighbourhoods into their own hands, it is fast growing. While the CLT movement is relatively young, there is a long history of community ownership and management of housing and assets in this country. For example, the original Garden Cities had a community trust that owned and managed the assets on behalf of the community and some still do. Based on the same principles, CLT have grown in popularity as they act as long-term stewards of housing and other community assets. For example, in contrast to other private forms of affordable housing initiatives, CLTs ensure that housing remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.
Why do we need a Parracombe CLT?
In addition to affordable housing the Parish Council are working on a number of initiatives for the village; a new village shop and Post Office, the Village Hall, leisure facilities and parking, all of which will require governance and a legal framework for management and funding. The Parish Council are working in partnership with Exmoor National Park to define a Parish Plan that creates a roadmap for the various projects. The council are also seeking advice from organisations such as Wessex Community Land Trust Project and The Plunkett Foundation. These organisations help villages like ours set up community owned and run initiatives, and a CLT with its members will provide the structure and governance we need. A CLT will also require an incorporated legal form, and in line with guidance from Wessex and our research with the Plunkett Foundation for a new community shop, we will incorporate the trust as a Community Benefit Society.
How can I help?
The first step to creating a CLT is to set up a steering group consisting of members of the community. The steering group will initially be responsible for defining what the CLT needs to achieve and to provide input to the development the parish plan. The steering group should have as many and varied members as possible that can bring ideas and the skills required to drive forward the various projects. If you think you can spare a few hours, have ideas and / or skills that the Trust will need get in contact with us to find out more.
Where can I find out more?
You can find more information about Community Land Trusts from the National Community Land Trust Network.
Wessex Community Land Trust Project is incorporated into Wessex Community Assets (WCA) and is part of the not-for-profit Wessex Reinvestment Trust. It provides support to CLTs at various stages of development.
The Plunkett Foundation helps communities, predominantly in rural areas, set up and run community co-operatives.