Government funds for local housing projects

Wiltshire Council is helping communities provide affordable homes with cash from a Government fund reserved for local housing projects.

It has forged a partnership with two organisations dedicated to promoting community life – Wiltshire Community Land Trust and Community First.

The partnership aims to help neighbourhood groups develop new affordable housing in their community to meet local needs. Support is available from the partnership to provide advice and guidance as well as access to funding.

Richard Clewer, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for housing, said: “Meeting housing needs is a priority for us and we are fully committed to supporting this project to help Wiltshire’s communities create new homes.”

Trevor Cherrett, chair of the Wiltshire Community Land Trust said: “This is a great opportunity to help local people get to grips with their local housing needs.”

Community First’s Jane Windle-Hartshorn said: ‘This work makes a great contribution to our support for Wiltshire’s communities, and we are delighted to be working with the council and the trust.”

Community Land Trusts support housing schemes that are under the control of the community, by purchasing the freehold or leasehold of the site to be developed.

Homes are earmarked for local needs and cannot be sold off, unless some are sold to subsidise the overall scheme. But the local community does not have to be the developer. Typically, they will work with a housing association or similar body.

There are approximately 225 Community Land Trusts around the country, with numbers rapidly growing. The Government will invest £60m a year for the next five years to support Community Land Trusts, self-builds and co-operative housing.

The Community Housing Fund can provide grants of up to £10,000 to cover initial costs associated with establishing a Community Land Trust or community-led housing project.

For more information about community-led housing contact Vicky Bodman on 01380 732816 or Victoria.Bodman@wiltshire.gov.uk or see www.wiltshire.gov.uk/housing-community-fund

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