What is a Community Land Trust?
Community Land Trusts are a form of community-led housing. They acquire land, and sometimes buildings, and use them for the benefit of their local community. Some CLTs also provide other community facilities, such as shops or pubs. Frome area CLT is managed and run by volunteers on behalf of the community. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable for every future occupier.
Why do we need a CLT in Frome?
We believe that it is important to empower our local community, helping them come together and help tackle the problems surrounding high rents and rising property prices. The Community Land Trust will enable local people to start taking control of housing issues by providing genuinely affordable homes for local people. The important thing is that community led housing remains in the community and remains affordable in perpetuity.
What do we mean by local?
By ‘local’ we mean Frome town and the surrounding area (i.e. settlements on the border of the town). The CLT aims to enable people to stay in their home town rather than move due to rising prices. People who live or work locally, people with families in Frome or with other strong local connections all fall into our remit.
How will the CLT develop housing?
We rely on grants and other sources of income such as trusts and charities. We look for land that might not be attractive or available to commercial developers, or land owned by people or local authorities who want to help us provide much needed housing. Once we have the land we expect to partner with local housing associations to build and manage quality housing.
Why work with Housing Associations?
Many CLTs work with housing associations when developing and managing the homes they create. This will be the most likely route for us once we have obtained sites, at least in our earliest projects. Housing Associations have the resources and skills to help make our objectives a reality so partnering with a good HA is a sensible route for a CLT such as ours.
How is Frome Area CLT run?
FACLT is registered as a Community Benefit Society, with a set of rules determining the way the organisation should be governed. We have a growing membership of local people who elect our board of directors (max. number 12) and attend regular meetings in order to hear what we are doing and approve future activities. Our current board includes local councillors, directors of Fair Housing for Frome, and others with experience in housing development and management, community engagement and fund-raising. We also work alongside and receive support from organisations with experience of other CLTs – such as the Wessex CLT Partnership and the National CLT Network.
How can local people help?
Joining Frome Area Community Land Trust is the first step. We need lots of local people to get involved and support us – it only costs £1 to join. Besides taking part in our general meetings, members are welcome to get involved in one of our working groups. Or you may want to offer your energy and skills to our board by standing for election as a director at an Annual General Meeting. Finally our search for land is ongoing – so if you have land or know of land that might be suitable please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a single person looking for a place in Frome that I can afford to rent. Can the CLT help me?
Currently as a single person the most obvious and quickest route is through the private rental sector. Whilst rents can be expensive in the Frome area there are some landlords and letting agents offering fair rented properties and there are often property share arrangements available. You may also wish to consider lodging – that is, renting a room in another person’s main home. A good place to start is the Frome Housing notice board on Facebook and in the library as well as with the letting agents in the town.
Social housing in our area is in high demand with a substantial waiting list; single people generally won’t get priority but it’s important to register with Homefinder Somerset on the Mendip District Council website https://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/8215/Homefinder-Somerset and get yourself on the housing list. The CLT expects to partner with Social Housing providers so the local authority housing list does come into play when CLT properties are allocated.
Further useful information is available here.
We are desperate to find a suitable home in Frome for our young family. Will we be eligible for a CLT home?
It’s really important to get yourself on the local housing list by registering with Homefinder Somerset, especially as we may well partner with a housing association who would draw potential tenants from that list. Even if you have previously been told that you have ‘low priority’, this may not bar you from eligibility for a CLT home, since we are aiming to ring-fence our homes for people with a local connection. Eligibility will depend on the type of properties we build and who we partner – so different developments might be suitable for different potential Please keep in touch with our progress by joining the Frome Area Community Land Trust – you can find the link on our home page.
I own a small plot of land, a potential site for a few homes. What could I expect from the CLT?
We are constantly looking for plots of land of all sizes and happy to talk to landowners to discuss ideas. If a site is potentially suitable we can carry out feasibility studies and put forward proposals. Community Land Trusts do not have access to the kinds of funding or borrowing available to many commercial house builders, so the price we can pay for a plot is often less than the commercial rate; but as a CLT we might well be able to progress a development on sites not viable for commercial developers.
I’m thinking of becoming a member of the CLT. What would being a member involve?
Joining FACLT is easy, the link is on our home page and it only costs £1 to join. As a member you will be kept in touch with our news and progress with regular newsletters and updates. As a member you also get to vote for board members and on other Trust issues during our AGM. And members who are interested can join one of our working groups. Being involved in the CLT gives you an insight into local housing issues and helps us as an organisation to get our message out there. We look forward to welcoming you as a member.
I’m thinking of standing as a director of the CLT. How should I go about it and what would it involve?
The Frome Area Community Land Trust board of directors aims to have a diverse mix of people with backgrounds ranging from community housing, local government, property rental, property development as well as people from other walks of life. But directors do not need to be ‘technical experts’; the main criterion is enthusiasm and a having a commitment to providing genuinely affordable housing in our community. We meet monthly and have dedicated sub groups concentrating on issues such as searching for land, membership involvement and communications. Whilst members elect directors at each of our Annual General Meetings, directors are also able to appoint additional directors from time to time, if required.