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Building homes and a sense of community: the strengths and limitations of community land trusts Tom Moore Building and Social Housing Foundation HSA Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Building homes and a sense of community: the strengths and limitations of community land trusts Tom Moore Building and Social Housing Foundation HSA Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building homes and a sense of community: the strengths and limitations of community land trusts Tom Moore Building and Social Housing Foundation HSA Conference 19 April 2012

2 Structure of the talk  What is a community land trust (CLT)?  Background to the research and questions  Theoretical lens  How are CLTs enabled  What are their strengths and limitations?

3 What is a community land trust?  Seeks to develop and manage assets for local community.  Primary focus on affordable housing.  Often found in rural communities with high ratios between property prices and local incomes.  Aim to develop affordable housing for local people (shared ownership) with resale conditions attached to ensure it remains affordable in perpetuity.  Areas untouched by planning policies.

4 Background information  International antecedents (USA, Scotland, Canada).  : National demonstration programme  2008: Legislated for in Housing & Regeneration Act.  2010: National membership body formed.  80+ CLTs and 229 homes built (Paterson et al, 2011)

5 Background to this research  Study took place from Oct ‘08 – Nov ‘11.  This was a period of significant change for CLTs.  Changing legislation  Government agendas of localism  Questions... (Conservative Party, 2009; Goodchild, 2010; Handy et al, 2011)  How and why do they form?  How are they delivered?  What is their (potential) use and impact?  30 interviews with different stakeholders (15 CLTs)

6 Theoretical background  From government to governance: the enabling state  “Masters of their own destiny” (Grant Shapps, 2010)  Communitarianism a particularly influential strand of thought for policymakers (Etzioni, 1995; Tam,1998)  Strengthening influence and giving responsibility to communities.  Greater local decision-making – culture of self-management and self-determination.  Enlargement of civic participation and influence beyond the state

7 Theoretical questions  However, ‘community’ means many different things.  Grassroots oppositional activity? (Defilippis, 2006)  Identifies valued types of behaviour and living...  Active or perceived disengaged citizens? (Flint, 2003; McKee and Cooper, 2008)  Social capital. Different power relations and abilities to contribute to ‘community life’ (Elias and Scotson, 1965; Levitas, 2005)

8 Why do they form?  CLTs motivated by:  Creating a new delivery mechanism where current needs are not being met by policies or providers.  Particular perspectives on affordability and local control.  Realign aspatial notions of housing need.

9 Reasons for formation  “The CLT aims to meet need unmet by others” (Director, Village CLT in Cornwall) – intermediate housing rather than social or market.  “We wanted to protect the interests of local people... To provide facilities that would sustain our community, but also to take local control, particularly around affordable housing” (Chair, CLT in Devon) – social sustainability  “We're concerned if the need's not met from within the community it would be met by an external agency that won’t meet local needs. That could mean losing our ability to decide who occupies the properties” (Board member, CLT in Gloucestershire) – set up to meet needs of local people (existing and future generations)

10 New tenure arrangements  Important that CLTs “remain affordable to local people” - unlike previous mechanisms of delivery.  CLTs make vital contribution to supply of rural housing for local needs  Positive social effects of rural housing  School rolls  Local economies  How is this delivered?

11 Mechanisms/barriers to achieving this  Resources  Land  Finance  Human capital  Capacity and competence issues  Enabling support that is provided

12 Access to resources – land and finance  St Minver CLT – 24 homes in small affluent village (Rock, Cornwall)  Access to land and finance by subsidy, loan or donation  Local landowners - philanthropy  Local authorities – asset transfer, dedicated lines of credit (revolving loan funds, interest-free loans)  Collaborative arrangements with local authorities crucial  CLTs addressing ‘hard to reach’ areas  Key workers  Rural community resilience/place attachment  Shared ownership homes at 1/3 of market rate

13 Access to resources – land and finance  Less successful CLTs...  “They seem to be very much tailored to the needs of a certain type of clientele, you know, people who are really local” (Housing Officer, Welsh LA)  “There’s a feeling that it’s a slightly, possibly, elitist type of development... People want houses built for specific types of people.. The community came to me saying the CLT, it’s not catering for people in most need,... They felt the CLT already had the names of the people who would buy the properties – those in most need, not just the village but the community council area, could not afford to access those properties” (Rural Housing Enabler, Wales)  In some instances thought not to meet LA views of ‘affordability’ or ‘need’. Issues of power and accountability impede access to resources.

14 Whose needs are being met?  “If you could not run a CLT to do anything other than intermediate housing because those ‘undesirables’ from other parts of the county came into it, I’d be well and truly behind the CLT with its current form and objective” (Local community member, Village CLT in the SW)  “Many communities are sceptical about working with housing associations as they lose control and rural houses will be let to ‘outsiders’” (SW District Council)  Denotes ‘insiders and outsiders’ to a community which can make it difficult for local authorities to support.

15 Human resource barriers  Who forms CLTs?  CLTs formed by affluent middle class – reliant on individual local leaders “I think if you were in a community where you didn’t have that kind of strength of local leadership it would really struggle.” (Community Strategy Officer, Devon)  “The CLT has a lot of money tied up in it and I’m uncomfortable sorting through the paperwork and accounting properly” (Anonymous CLT board member)  Human capital an issue.  Significant range of technical skill required  Community consultation, business planning, legal incorporation

16 Human resource barriers  Also crucial to unlocking resources  The CLT... “lacked the expertise and resources to make a convincing business plan” (Welsh LA, 2011)  Funding also demands accountability and technical skills (HCA grant)  Umbrella CLTs formed to assist with this  Professionalised bodies – growing in number  Formed to ‘breathe life’ into organisations  Of high value to volunteers and stakeholders

17 Umbrella CLTs  “The process of forming a CLT is daunting. It’d have been a much longer process and we’d have been more likely to give up because of the time and we’re all volunteers. You don’t even have the sense of where to begin” (CLT volunteer, Cornwall)

18 Umbrella CLTs  Well established in Cornwall, where 50% of all CLT homes are developed.  Important intermediaries.  Provision of expert advice  Provide professional legitimacy  Connection with networks and resources  Not a panacea  Local stakeholder relations (patchwork funding)  Relationship with communities + appropriate geographical level

19 To conclude...  Strengths  Rural housing supply & wider community effects  Mechanisms of philanthropy to unlock land  Innovation by local authorities  Limitations/implications  Forming and benefiting from CLTs it not open to all.  Local variation and context important (issues of power & skill)  High levels of human capital required (professionalisation)  Success of localism/communitarian agendas dependent on active facilitation and capacity building

20 References  Conservative Party. (2009) Strong Foundations: building homes and communities. Policy Green Paper No.10. Available online.  DeFilippis, J, Fisher, R and Shragge, E. (2006) Neither Romance nor Regulation: Re-evaluating community, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 30(3),  Elias, N. and Scotson, J. (1965) The established and the outsiders: a sociological enquiry into community problems. Reprint, London: Sage,  Etzioni, A. (1995) The Spirit of Community. London: Fontana Press.  Flint, J. (2003) Housing and Ethopolitics: constructing identities of active consumption and responsible community, Economy and Society, 32 (4):  Goodchild, B. (2010) Conservative Party policy for planning: caught between the market and local communities, People, Place & Policy Online, 4(1):  Handy, C, Gulliver, K and Morris, J. (2011) Exceeding expectations: the nature and extent of resident-controlled housing. Birmingham: Human City Institute.  Levitas, R. (2005) The Inclusive Society? Social Exclusion and New Labour. Palgrave Macmillan.  McKee, K and Cooper, V. (2008) The paradox of tenant empowerment: regulatory and liberatory possibilities, Housing, Theory and Society, 25(2):  Paterson, B. et al. (2011) Community land trusts: proof of concept. Community Finance Solutions: Salford.  Shapps, G. (2009) Housing – A rural revolution. Speech to the Conservative Party,


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