Frome Housing Crisis Progress
Since Frome Town Council declared a housing crisis here in Frome, we have been busy working together to create a workable plan for tackling the crisis. This plan will then be voted on in the council meeting on November 15th.
The working group is identifying measurable tasks within the scope of the council’s budget and work programme that will have a positive impact on housing in the town. The group will also recommend the role that Frome Area Community Land Trust should play in implementing the plan.
Some of the priorities identified for inclusion in the plan:
1. Ensuring that Somerset Council recognise the scale of the housing crisis and use their powers to get more affordable housing built. This must involve collaborating with Somerset Council Councillors.
2. Raising awareness of housing need and the shortage of affordable homes, and reaching out to other community organisations to find out their views and the roles they can play.
3. Making better use of existing housing; for example researching empty properties, residential and commercial, and encouraging schemes like Home Share and Supported Lodgings.
4. Enabling Frome Area Community Land Trust to acquire land and build affordable homes, as well as helping people currently struggling. This might involve the employment of a housing development officer whose primary role would be the promotion of Frome’s housing needs.
5. Exploring funding possibilities arising from national publicity as the first Parish Council to declare a housing crisis.
6. Continuing to leverage media coverage, concentrating on positive actions, sharing information and local stories.
FACLT welcomes YOUR ideas on how the housing crisis can be tackled. We will also need support with our ongoing development of this plan.
If you can offer your ideas, and/or time and support, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
FACLT Annual General Meeting
Date 21st November at 7:00pm on Zoom.
Zoom invitations will be sent out nearer the time
New Directors Needed
The FACLT board of directors has responsibility for the governance and leadership of the organisation. Directors must work as a team to determine FACLT’s direction, oversee its activities, monitor progress, and ensure it complies with its legal and financial obligations. Directors, who are all volunteers, meet as a board on a regular basis (at present monthly) to carry out this role. If you have a passion to improve the housing situation in Frome, as well as some kind of relevant expertise and/or experience, why not consider standing as a FACLT director? We’d be happy to have a chat with anyone thinking about it – just contact us at email@example.com.
Share your stories…
It’s time to address the housing crisis and find solutions. There are many voices not being heard. That’s why we are encouraging those who are finding it hard to find suitable housing or struggling with the Homefinder bidding system, to share their stories with us.
If you would like to share your story (anonymously is fine) you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
London CLT: Citizen’s House, Lewisham
Nestled within a South London council estate that was once characterised by gloomy rows of lock-up garages and a playground, now stands a beacon of community-driven transformation. A pristine white brick block of flats graces the landscape, featuring spacious balconies and a sweeping staircase that offers stunning vistas of the treetops and the city skyline.
At first glance, one might assume these to be luxury apartments, often built by councils in pursuit of urban “regeneration” projects aimed at financing improvements elsewhere in the community. However, the reality is vastly different. These new homes are the product of the tenacious efforts of the local community, designed to remain affordable for the benefit of local residents, now and into the future.
The journey to what is now known as Citizens House has been a decade-long labour of love. It signifies a remarkable achievement as London’s first completed community land trust (CLT) initiated directly by the community’s residents. Originating in the United States in the 1960s, the CLT is an innovative and inclusive affordable housing model that removes homes from the volatility of the property market, ensuring their value remains tied to the median local income indefinitely. This approach shifts the paradigm from viewing homes solely as investment commodities, as is common in England, to recognizing the long-term stewardship of land and housing as vital community assets. Crucially, CLT homes stand as a guarantee of sustained affordability, immune to the fluctuations of the housing market.
But the path to achieving this remarkable feat was far from straightforward. London CLT, a nonprofit organisation, embarked on its mission to establish a community land trust in the city in 2007, when the Olympic park was identified as a potential location for a pilot project. Despite the grand promises surrounding the 2012 Olympics “legacy,” this endeavour remained unrealized for more than a decade.
Initially, the Sydenham project seemed destined for a similar fate. When Janet Emmanuel and her neighbours approached Lewisham council with the idea of community-led housing, they were met with a discouraging response—no available land. Undeterred, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
Their grassroots efforts began humbly, with a group of ten individuals scouring the area, meticulously mapping out unused plots of land. Equipped with their map, they embarked on a tireless campaign, attending meetings, lobbying officials, and persistently advocating for their vision. Their unwavering determination eventually bore fruit, thanks in part to the support of Lewisham Citizens and London CLT, securing an overlooked corner of the Brasted Close estate.
This corner plot, considered challenging by many due to its limited access and the presence of a gas main below, did not deter Mellis Haward of Archio, the architects chosen by the community following a collaborative design process. Their approach embraced true co-design, continually adapting to the evolving desires of the community over months and years.
The result is a striking and functional design, featuring a welcoming area paved with a herringbone pattern in front of the building, generous galleries, and abundant windows that fill the homes with natural light, eliminating the dim corridors typically found in modern flats. These thoughtful design choices not only contribute to an atmosphere of openness and community but also reflect the essence of the residents’ vision.
For residents who now call Citizens House their home, these houses represent a life-changing opportunity. Providing affordability, stability, and a release from the compromises often associated with quality and affordability in the private rental market, they also offer the promise of long-term affordability, ensuring that future generations will benefit.
Citizens House epitomises the potential of community-led housing initiatives. It stands as a testament to the extraordinary dedication and vision of local residents who, against all odds, have transformed an overlooked corner of their community into a beacon of hope and empowerment, offering inspiration and a blueprint for future community-driven projects. In Citizens House, local people have not only secured homes but also forged stronger connections within their community, fostering a sense of belonging and unity that transcends bricks and mortar.
Read more about this project https://www.londonclt.org/citizens-house