Aberystwyth Area Community Land Trust
Project Report - February 2010
Common Futures Ltd
Social Economy Research and Development
A group of local people formed the Aberystwyth Area Community Land Trust as a not for
profit voluntary group in 2006. The idea came from our realisation that the housing situation
for communities in the Aberystwyth area has become unsustainable. Local people on low to
mid incomes who have been working in the area for many years struggle to find secure
affordable housing; the issue affects people of all ages and situations, young people starting
out and older people who have not previously entered the housing market. Since then house
prices and rents have continued to rise and the private rented sector become increasingly
Whilst housing associations provide excellent opportunities for certain groups, they recognise
that a multiplicity of types of provision is required as problems of homelessness and insecure
housing begin to affect more people, including those who are pursuing professional careers.
We have found that the Community Land Trust (CLT) offers a community led ‘bottom-up’
approach for those who would like active involvement in solutions to housing issues and are
interested in creative, ecological development.
Having consulted local providers and organisations from other regions we set up a steering
group, raised funds to employ assistance and carried out a housing need survey through the
local major employers.
This is the valuable report arising from this and other research - the first step towards
community led affordable, ecological housing provision for the Aberystwyth area.
Gill Ogden May 2010
Aberystwyth Area Community Land Trust was founded by Harry Durnall, Bruce French, Richard James, Gill
Ogden and the many other local people who came to meetings and offered their time and ideas.
The 2009-10 steering group who have brought the report and survey forward are Libby Fowler, Dylan Lewis
and Gill Ogden.
We would like to thank the following for their support without which the report and the future work of the
organisation would not be possible:
Jonathan Brown and Gail Goodall Land for People, Rosemary Foggitt, Pat Conaty, Andy Rowlands Ecodyfi,
Deb Wozencraft, Penri James, CAVO, Communities First WCVA, The Tudor Trust
Illustration by Dorry Spikes: www.dotspikes.com
Table of Contents
Executive summary 3
1. Introduction: background and terms of reference 8
2. The current housing, economic and financial climate and the picture
in Aberystwyth 10
3. What is a Community Land Trust? 14
3.1 Definition, description and rationale
3.2 Projects in Wales and beyond: some examples
4. Formation of a Community Land Trust – Legal issues and financial aspects 21
4.1 Legal considerations: incorporation of the trust
4.2 Legal considerations: tenure and re-sale – preserving affordability
4.3 Further considerations: social, environmental, cultural – CLT governance
4.4 Financial aspects
5. Policy context 31
6. Housing needs in the Aberystwyth Area 44
6.1 Survey process
6.2 Survey results
7. Potential Community Land Trust sites 50
8. Developing a Community Land Trust – Process and Stages 53
9. Main Findings and next steps: options and recommendations 57
Appendix I: Glossary
Appendix II: Housing Needs Survey
Appendix III: Off-site construction costings
Appendix IV: Mutual Home Ownership: Indicative costings
Ceredigion County Council calculates that 64% of Ceredigion‟s homeless are single people and
childless couples. This is, however, only part of the story. Homelessness statistics are often the tip of
the iceberg. Many more people are inadequately or unaffordably housed, or are housed under insecure
arrangements, so that they have no permanent home in which they can settle. They do not register as
homeless and, very often, they do not apply for housing in the belief that they are not eligible, or at least
a priority, and that their chance of obtaining good quality, secure housing from the public sector is non-
existent. Those people are obliged to rely either on the private sector or on family and friends.
“Between 2000–2005 problems with homelessness in Ceredigion reflected, often much more acutely,
those in Wales, as the issue of homelessness became increasingly important and the number of
homelessness presentations and homelessness acceptances rose. With the supply of new housing
slowing down, the numbers of households in temporary accommodation increased.”
Ceredigion County Council, Housing Strategy 2007 – 2012 (draft)
In Aberystwyth, private sector housing is considerably affected by the needs of the student population.
Good quality housing suitable for mature people with settled lifestyles is in even shorter supply than in
the rest of Ceredigion. For the same reason, problems with disrepair and generally poor standards of
housing tend to be even higher in and around Aberystwyth than elsewhere.
In addition, house prices tend to be higher in Aberystwyth than in Ceredigion as a whole because of
strong demand from the large number of people in professional jobs working in the public sector,
including the Bronglais Hospital, the Welsh Assembly Government, the University and the National
As demand grows as a result of these and other factors, house building of all but “executive homes” in
many parts of rural Wales, including Ceredigion, has failed to keep pace with housing need; building
throughout Wales is at a very low level, a situation which has been made worse by the recession.
Secure housing for rent is available from the local authority and housing associations, but is in very
short supply and generally reserved for restricted categories of people in “priority need”. Single working
people, particularly, have to rely on the private rental market if they are unable to afford to buy housing,
and the over-whelming majority of tenancies in the private sector are short-term; many are also of a
poor standard. As house prices rise, more and more people rely on housing from this source.
This situation inevitably has an impact on communities; insecure housing is not compatible with
„community cohesion‟. It affects the economy; people cannot work where suitable housing at a price
they can afford is not available. Frequent moves can cause work-related problems. Lack of secure
housing affects health, well-being, personal and family relationships. Poor quality housing is also
expensive to occupy and bad for the environment because of the wasted energy expended in efforts to
keep it warm and dry.
The local authority is under pressure to address the problem, and this is reflected in the policies it has
adopted. It would be a mistake to think that only the local authority‟s Housing Strategy is relevant. The
Community Strategy for Ceredigion aspires to “stronger communities” and community cohesion. The
Spatial Plan, the Social Enterprise Strategy, the Unitary Development Plan, Climate Change Strategy
and environmental objectives all have a bearing on matters directly or indirectly related to housing.
National policy drawn up by the Welsh Assembly Government, including its umbrella “One Wales”
strategy, is also relevant. Just as housing, or the lack of it, has a range of impacts that these policy
documents aspire to address, so a housing scheme or project may have a bearing on objectives that on
the face of it are not directly related to housing.
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) offer a sound, new approach to affordable housing that is especially
well-suited to rural areas of the UK. This grassroots movement has been successful in securing political
support and funding in different countries internationally because the CLT model works. Housing costs
involve several factors but basically core costs include: the cost of land, the cost of construction and the
cost of finance. CLTs seek to reduce these costs in different ways, but what makes this approach
unique is the focus on the land element; fundamentally they seek to hold land in trust for community
benefit which they secure at either low-cost or through an endowment. Often the land cost (effectively
the site value) may be 40 to 60 percent of the open market value of a dwelling; so bringing land into
trust successfully can bring down the cost of buying a house by a significant proportion.
Quite apart from the economic aspect, CLTs offer two important contributions to housing provision. The
first is meeting over-riding need for secure, permanent housing; the second is community participation,
which is built into the model from the outset.
With growing levels of government support, CLTs have developed steadily over the past 20 to 30 years
in rural areas of the USA and in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The original idea can be traced
back to nineteenth century innovations for bringing land back into the commons. For example the
National Trust has developed this way for over a century and its first site comprised a group of
fishermen‟s cottages in Barmouth that were gifted by a philanthropist in the 1890s.
Aberystwyth Area Community Land Trust has been inspired by these precedents. The CLT project was
formed because of acute housing need in Aberystwyth among people who are not seen as priorities by
public sector housing providers and housing associations, but who are also unable to find suitable,
long-term housing in the private sector. It is important though to note that a Community Land Trust
addresses other issues as well. In this regard AACLT is committed to the provision of environmentally
sound housing, to a form of housing which promotes community ownership, cohesion and social
responsibility, to supporting the Welsh language and to affordability in perpetuity. AACLT is a social
enterprise, with its roots in the local community.
In order for the organisation to achieve its objectives, it needs support from the local authority and other
public sector agencies, such as the Forestry Commission, as well as, in the first instance at least, from
charitable foundations in the form of grants. Successful Community Land Trusts elsewhere in the UK
have almost always worked in close cooperation with the local authority, which can offer support in the
form of planning, sometimes land, often advice and other resources. Lessons from Scotland and
Cornwall show that local authority and rural housing organisation partnerships are a critical component
of CLT success and CLT growth sub-regionally.
What does AACLT offer?
Housing: targeted at local people whose needs are not met by the public sector or by “social housing”
Permanent affordability: so that the housing remains affordable for future generations of residents
Environmental standards and carbon reduction: through innovative design
Participation: by residents in management, and the community as a whole in the organisation
Savings: through use of energy efficiency, shared facilities where appropriate
Stability: by offering a permanent place to live for individuals and families
Training and employment: through a commitment as far as possible to use local labour and
businesses in the development, and training opportunities for local people in innovative,
environmentally sound construction methods.
Welsh language: AACLT is committed as far as possible to bi-lingual communication and to the
promotion of the Welsh language.
The challenge for AACLT is to secure recognition from the public sector of the fact that it is about more
than cheap housing, although that, in itself, is a good start. Public authorities work in departments:
planning has a different perspective than housing, and support for social enterprise is not something
housing departments always see as relevant to what they do. The difficulty of bridging these silos is
widely recognised throughout the country, but so is the need to do so in order to avoid duplication and
achieve the best outcomes for the best value for money.
A Community Land Trust under English law is:
“a corporate body which:
1. is established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental
interests of a local community by acquiring and managing land and other assets in order:
• to provide a benefit to the local community
• to ensure that the assets are not sold or developed except in a manner which the
trust’s members think benefits the community
2. is established under arrangements which are expressly designed to ensure that:
• any profits from its activities will be used to benefit the local community (otherwise than
by being paid directly to members)
• individuals who live or work in the specified areas have the opportunity to become
members of the trust (whether or not others can also become members)
• the members of the trust control it.”
Housing and Regeneration Act 2008
Ceredigion County Council has taken a positive interest in AACLT efforts almost since its inception and
is keen to be kept informed and to explore ways of working together.
AACLT is now focusing on developing as an organisation by bringing people together and partners who
share its values, who have an interest, whether direct or indirect, in the housing issues with which it is
concerned, as well as its social, economic and environmental ethos and objectives. With the
publication of its first report, the CLT is opening up a discussion as to the best way forward and it
welcomes comment and feedback to shape effectively its short-, medium- and long-term priorities and
aspirations and professional input to formalise its structure and to recruit a strong and dynamic board.
With support from key stakeholders in Ceredigion to implement the key recommendations in this report,
AACLT can move forward in 2010 to identify a site for its first development and get started on delivering
some housing. To help guide it forward, with support from Land for People, the CLT development body
funded by the Welsh Assembly, it has already a professional backer to make an early start on the
practical work ahead. Its mission is to develop secure housing for people on moderate incomes, using
a mechanism which will maintain affordability in perpetuity. Through the Community Land Trust
approach, it will have the ability to contribute to the community objectives described above, which
reflect the broader public policy objectives set by the local authority and the Welsh Assembly
Government. Having gathered learning and experience through its pioneering work, the organisation
intends to go on to help other organisations pursue similar projects across Ceredigion.
This research has been supported with the grant assistance from both the Ceredigion Association of
Voluntary Organisations and Communities First funding. The research work has been conducted with
the involvement and guidance of key members of Aberystwyth Area Community Land Trust group
including Gill Ogden, Bruce French and Libby Fowler. Additional assistance has been provided by
Jonathan Brown, Gail Goodall and Andy Rowland of Land for People. Guidance and assistance has
been provided by housing officers of Ceredigion County Council. Help in circulation of the surveys was
provided by Bronglais Hospital, the Welsh Assembly Government, Unison, Aberystwyth University, the
National Library and Coleg Ceredigion.
Thanks are due to all of the above but responsibility for any errors in this report is solely that of the
1. Introduction: background and terms of reference
AACLT was formally constituted as an unincorporated association in October 2006, having operated on
an informal basis as a steering group for some months. The common concern was and remains the
shortage of suitable, affordable and, above all, secure housing for a range of people they have come to
define as "the new homeless". This means people who are in work, on modest incomes, but who are
unable to access “homeownership”, because their income is insufficient to raise a large enough
mortgage and/or they cannot provide the requisite deposit for purchasing adequate housing on the
open market. At the same time, they do not fall into “priority need” categories enabling them to access
public sector, or “social” housing.
People within this category usually rely on the private sector rental market; this sector, however, has
three problems: general availability, quality and, above all, security of tenure. Thus, people living
settled lives, looking for permanent accommodation they can call their home, are not provided for by the
This group is often described as an “intermediate market” and has become a recognised entity
throughout the UK. Aberystwyth, however, presents its own characteristics as a university town, also
home to the National Library, and soon offices of the Welsh Assembly Government. The result has
been a steep rise in house prices in recent years, and pressure on the rental market to provide student
housing. The emphasis on short-term, student housing has had the effect of distorting the rented
sector towards the provision of short-term accommodation unsuitable for the needs of more mature,
The question of tenure is frequently over-shadowed by the pressing considerations of overall housing
supply. Privately rented accommodation is usually based on a short-term rent agreement, creating
perennial insecurity for families and working people dependent on that market segment. Lack of
protection is sometimes seen as beneficial to the supply of accommodation in the private rental sector;
landlords are more willing to invest if they can secure vacant possession when they need to. Equally
and significantly, however, this insecurity has a severe impact on the well-being of tenants. It may also
mean that people become unwilling to free up public sector or social housing and move into privately
rented housing, even if it is more suitable for their needs, if they will then lose the security of a
permanent home. This is a controversial, politically contentious problem, which CLTs have the
potential to address.
In the current economic crisis, these issues have become more acute and no doubt the landscape of
attitudes to housing and housing tenure will emerge from it significantly altered. The point has been
reinforced by recent UK-wide research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Housing1 suggesting
that only 37% of people in the 18 – 24 age group presently think that homeownership is right for them,
or attainable. The sample included homeowners, people renting their accommodation privately and
residents of social housing. On the other hand, and very significantly, only 14% of respondents thought
that renting was a cheaper and safer option than homeownership. If those findings prove to be durable,
the implications are that there is a gaping hole in the basic structure of housing provision.
Young People Move Away from Homeownership, 14.6.09, www.cih.org/news
Aberystwyth Area Community Land Trust has two main objectives: to pilot one or more Community
Land Trust developments in the Aberystwyth area, and to develop an organisation capable of providing
advice and support to other Community Land Trusts throughout Ceredigion.
The organisation is committed to the development of environmentally and socially sustainable housing
and sees its mission as integrating these aspects through a CLT. The basic criteria for any
development are that the housing should remain permanently affordable for local people, that it should
be environmentally sound in its construction, that residents should have the opportunity of participating
in management of the development, and that it should offer optimum social standards, perhaps, for
example, incorporating shared facilities, such as a shared laundry or allotments, and opportunities to
adapt as life circumstances change; for example, following retirement, divorce, marriage, childbirth.
In order to pursue those objectives, it is committed to working with other locally-based organisations
with expertise in sustainable building techniques and housing development and management. It is also
committed to social inclusion and operating in ways which support local people and the local economy,
including through ensuring that its public communications are, wherever possible, available in the
Welsh language. It intends that its work should offer training and employment opportunities for local
people, in particular in the area of innovative environmental building techniques.
Common Futures Ltd has been asked to assist AACLT in taking forward their objectives by:
• Researching the appropriate legal and financial framework appropriate to the organisation‟s
• Conducting a Housing Needs Survey locally
• Researching and identifying potential building plots
• Researching and making funding applications.
In the course of the project, we had meetings with potential stakeholders, including Mid-Wales Housing
Association, the Centre for Alternative Technology, Aberystwyth County Council, the Forestry
Commission, Land for People, Communities First (Aberystwyth).
The purpose of this report is to set out the outcome of that work and to set an initial frame of reference
for decisions to be taken by the group. It includes an overview of the public policy context at national
level for Wales and in Ceredigion in particular, in order to enable the organisation to situate its own
objectives and aspirations within that context and to evaluate how and where it should direct itself in its
quest for support.
2. The current housing, economic and financial climate
The complex range of problems facing rural communities in meeting the need of local people for
adequate housing is well-researched and not confined to Wales. Most research was carried out at a
time when the general economy appeared stable and house prices were still rising, if less dramatically
than in recent years.
Research as to the position since the onset of the “credit crunch” in late 2007, and the failure of the
Northern Rock, has yet to be done. Events continue to unfold and predictions as to the likely course of
the recession vary wildly.
In June 2008, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Commission on Rural Housing in Wales reported on its
independent analysis of the overall housing situation in Wales. Its findings refer back to research
carried out before the current recession took hold. The report considers the broader context of rural
housing problems, but focuses on how those problems play out in Wales, as well as problems specific
to the Welsh context.
Housing development overall is failing to keep pace with need and the overall gain in household
numbers in Wales; increases in house prices have far outstripped increases in average earnings; high
development costs are exacerbated by the practice of “land banking”, whereby developers speculatively
hold onto land earmarked for housing development with a view to maximising prices by maintaining
pressure of excess demand over supply.
Meanwhile, planning authorities appear to be failing to use section 106 planning agreements to full
advantage. These agreements are entered into with developers when planning permission is given,
and create obligations in return for planning permission. One such obligation may relate to the
provision of affordable housing.
The lack of availability of affordable housing is compounded by the exercise of tenants‟ Right to Buy
and Right to Acquire2. According to the Commission‟s research, Ceredigion has lost 56% of its housing
stock through exercise of the Right to Buy since 1980. As a result, a large percentage of the stock
remaining in public ownership is sheltered housing.
At the same time, private rented stock is often in poor condition. In Ceredigion, 26% of the sector falls
within the category of 1 – 3 hazard3.
In summary, among the key factors relevant to the severe shortage of affordable housing in Wales, the
following were identified by the Commission:
• there is a mismatch between the housing available and current needs
• net in-migration of older, asset-rich people and people on higher incomes pushes prices up
• there is local resistance, especially on the part of in-migrants, to housing development
• the planning system is not designed to promote housing development in line with housing
need, and has more of a rural conservation focus
• the supply of social housing is severely limited.
See the Glossary appended to this report for a short explanation of these terms
See the Glossary appended to this report for a short explanation of this term
The picture in Aberystwyth
The adequacy or otherwise of housing stock must be assessed against a myriad of factors, including
the nature and location of the housing stock itself, the demographics of the population – age, household
size, health, life expectancy - their income and employment prospects, the surrounding area. Cultural
factors are also significant, reflecting norms, expectations and aspirations, as well as practice in terms
of savings and investment.
Ceredigion County Council has engaged in the process of gathering and analysing the necessary data
in the form of a Local Housing Market Assessment4.
The picture in Aberystwyth presents its own, unique characteristics. It is classified by the Welsh
Assembly Government as falling within a rural local authority area. It is, however, a university town,
with a significant student population. Moreover, Aberystwyth is home to the National Library; it houses
Welsh Assembly Government offices; it has a large hospital (the Bronglais hospital). Its employed
population, as opposed to those in self-employment or small business, is, as a result, proportionately
greater than might be expected in the remainder of Ceredigion, and in rural communities in general.
The presence of these institutions, in all likelihood, contributes significantly to in-migration from other
parts of Wales and from the UK as a whole, with its attendant upward pressure on house prices.
Employees working within the public sector are relatively well-paid5, with obvious implications for house
prices in both Aberystwyth and the surrounding area within commuting distance.
According to the 2001 census, Aberystwyth‟s total population was just under 17,000; of that figure,
students numbered about 5,600. Current estimates indicate that the population has now grown to about
18,000, of which students account for about 6,500. According to the Local Housing Market
Assessment, that rise in population results entirely from in-migration in one for or another. The “natural”
pattern, meaning one brought about by the rate of deaths and births in the city, would otherwise have
been a fall.
A relevant factor in this context is the failure of the development of dedicated student accommodation to
keep pace with the growth in student numbers; the estimated additional housing demand in
Aberystwyth resulting from this is estimated at 2,500 to 3,000, which is highly significant in the context
of the overall population of the town.
In 2007, Ceredigion County Council conducted a House Condition Survey (the “Adamson Survey”),
based on current Welsh Assembly Government guidance and the provisions of the Housing Act 2004,
and assessing how the housing stock measures up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
Significantly, 56% of Aberystwyth‟s housing stock was built before 1919; the town has a higher than
average proportion of flats (16%). Half of that number is converted from large town houses or other
commercial property, including flats above retail premises, as opposed to being purpose-built. The
2001 census showed a high level of vacant flats, especially converted property (7%), and an even
higher percentage of vacant flats in commercial buildings (10%). Those figures may reflect the high
turnover associated with student housing.
It was found that 27.9% of houses in Aberystwyth fall short of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
Problems identified by the survey include restricted external areas, poor security of the curtilage, and
5 Ceredigion County Council data estimates that the mean household income in Aberystwyth was £28,580 in 2006
generally poor quality conversions, designed to maximise unit numbers. There are particular problems
in relation to “bed-sits” and other student accommodation, with unacceptably high levels of unfitness6.
The demographics are, according to the draft Housing Market Analysis, not qualitatively different from
those applicable to Wales generally, and indeed the United Kingdom as a whole, leaving aside the
effect of the high proportion of students within the general population. The population is ageing,
household size is falling, and numbers of households are rising accordingly.
Land Registry records of sales completed in Ceredigion as a whole, are available to August 2009.
They show that average prices overall fell over the previous two years from almost £180,000 to
£171,000, about 5%. Prices of terraced houses and flats or maisonettes have changed little over the
same period, still averaging around £140,000. The figures provided by the HMA suggest that prices in
Aberystwyth itself tend to be a little higher. Sales volumes, however, over the same period have fallen
by almost half in Ceredigion, which may suggest that asking prices are too high, or that people are
unable to arrange mortgages because of prevailing post-credit crunch conditions.
Average earnings present a simple, if rough and ready way of assessing affordability; they do not, of
course, take into account the situation of those not economically active, or the effect of any rise in their
numbers. Nor do they take into account people‟s sense of security in their employment or in the
economy as a whole, and in particular in the stability of house prices. The most recent statistics
available (September 2008) show levels of economic activity, again for Ceredigion as a whole, as about
5% lower than the level for Wales as a whole. Figures for Aberystwyth itself (HMA) reflect this, but the
large student population is also relevant to the significance of this figure.
Average household income in Aberystwyth is about £28,600 a year; taking the HMA figures, the ratio of
median income to lower quartile house price is about 1:6, in other words much too high for entry into
the housing market on the basis of income alone for people on average or below average earnings7.
These figures do not present an exact match; there is a degree of statistical fluidity as between the
various data sets. On any view, however, it is clear that first-time purchase of housing is out of reach
for a large number of working people.
Department of Justice statistics show that the rate of mortgage repossessions in Aberystwyth increased
by 51% between 2007 and 2008, against a rise of 14% in Wales as a whole, and 9% across England
and Wales. Landlord repossessions in the same period increased by 19% in Aberystwyth, but fell by
2% in Wales as a whole. They rose by 4% across England and Wales. Inevitably, homelessness will
rise as a result and the general pressure on affordable housing will increase. Measures have been
taken by lenders to modify their procedures and find ways of reducing these rates, so the next set of
figures is likely to show a fall in the rate.
Against that background, all new housing completions in Aberystwyth, including units created by
conversions (typically for privately rented, including student, housing), average only 160 – 170 a year.
At a time of increased unemployment and economic hardship, pressure on the supply of “social
housing” is likely to continue to increase for some time. The exact effect of this on the “intermediate”
market is hard to predict and one implication might be that models emphasising a rental structure, as
opposed to some (partial) form of homeownership, could be better adapted to current needs.
6 see the (draft) Ceredigion Housing Strategy, p 38
7 According to Council of Mortgage Lenders figures for July 2009, current loan to value ratios applied for first-time buyers are
just under 1:3
The overall picture continues to evolve. Significant development of on-campus student accommodation
is proposed. Housing need and affordability will inevitably be affected by the trajectory of the current
recession. New employment statistics are likely to reflect recessionary trends. It may be that inward
migration will have slowed, that fewer people are in a position to consider house purchase or a move,
that more young people will remain at home with their parents for longer, that people will postpone the
decision to have children. The development value of land is likely to be volatile. Employment in
Aberystwyth may also be exposed to cuts in public expenditure in the next few years and, in the
meantime, general uncertainty is likely to prevail.
Following the crisis in the financial sector, lending practices have become more restrictive. Ratios of
mortgages to earnings are more strictly applied at 3:1; there is a general insistence on a 10% deposit,
and 20% to secure more favourable interest rates (so access is needed to, say £14,000, plus legal and
survey fees); there is greater scrutiny of borrowers‟ financial circumstances (so, if the deposit is raised
through a family loan, the mortgage may be refused).
Finally, climate change policy and implementation are moving forward and will inevitably have an
impact on decisions relating to housing: the funding available, housing type, location, cost. Rising fuel
costs will also affect the housing market, especially in relation to properties categorised as “difficult to
heat”; there is also the question of the incidence of fuel poverty generally, and its impact on people
struggling to pay rent or a mortgage.
In summary, all the signs are that in Aberystwyth, as elsewhere in Wales, the pressure on housing is
set to increase, probably steeply. It seems clear that the recession has done nothing to mitigate
housing market failure. Two recent developments of potential significance or relevance to furtherance
of CLTs in the Aberystwyth area are:
• Ceredigion tenants recently voted in favour of stock transfer to Tai Ceredigion Housing
Association (November 2008)
• Ceredigion County Council was affected by the „credit crunch‟ problems in Icelandic banks,
where it had a total of £5.5 million invested. It is unclear what the implications of that will be
and what effect that will have on funding and asset transfer decisions.
3. What is a Community Land Trust?
3.1 Definition, description and rationale
The essence of a CLT is the simple idea that the value which can be derived from land within a
neighbourhood or a defined community should be protected and made available for reinvestment for
the long-term benefit of that community. This can be done by separating leasehold rights over the use
of land from the freehold ownership. This ancient British system of dividing freehold and leasehold
ownerships has proved to be a uniquely adaptable and enduring approach to the structuring of capital
and the layering of mutual self-interests. It can now be re-fashioned to protect and promote the
common good, in ways that are directly relevant to current policy.8
Community Land Trusts have a long and rich history. Their origins lie in the effort to protect commons
land from enclosure in the UK; they have been effectively developed in the United States and, more
recently, in Scotland, where an effective legal and technical enabling framework has been developed.
Community Land Trusts now have a formal, legal definition in English law. It is set out in the Housing
and Regeneration Act 2008. Legally, a CLT in England is:
“a corporate body which:
1. is established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental
interests of a local community by acquiring and managing land and other assets in order:
• to provide a benefit to the local community
• to ensure that the assets are not sold or developed except in a manner which the
trust‟s members think benefits the community
2. is established under arrangements which are expressly designed to ensure that:
• any profits from its activities will be used to benefit the local community (otherwise than
by being paid directly to members)
• individuals who live or work in the specified areas have the opportunity to become
members of the trust (whether or not others can also become members)
• the members of the trust control it.”
Thus, and more broadly, Community Land Trusts are a way of acquiring and holding land and property
for the benefit of a defined locality or community. As the name of the Act suggests, they may be
associated with the regeneration of a community.
The chronic shortage of affordable housing in most parts of Britain has been the main impetus behind
the formation of CLTs in recent years. They may, however, exist for other purposes, such as farming,
community energy schemes, social enterprise, or other cultural or environmental purposes. And they
may have a vision of combining a variety of functions in order to take on a holistic role in their
community. They operate to capture the value of the land in their ownership, and at the same time
facilitating its productive use, generating wealth and social benefits for the community as a whole.
Their essential feature is this separation of the ownership of land from the use to which it is put; the
land is taken out of the market and is no longer subject to the negative impact of speculation in land
Stephen Hill, Community Land Trust Handbook (unpublished)
Thus, while the urgent imperative behind the recent interest in Community Land Trusts has been the
escalation in land and house prices and the severe lack of affordable housing, the role of CLTs is not
confined to housing. Community development and social cohesion aspects, as well as environmental
issues are important and CLTs should be looked at in the wider context of social, economic and
environmental sustainability if they are to be understood. In that sense, they fit closely with the
sustainable development agenda and tie in with a number of public policy objectives, as will be seen
In practice, CLTs may take different legal forms. The main ones will be considered more closely below
in the section on legal considerations. They are all, however, non-profit organisations.
Turning to the role of CLTs in the housing sector, the central point is that a major component in the cost
of housing is the value of the land upon which it is built, often 50%, sometimes more, sometimes a little
less, of that of the finished dwelling. Speculation in land and its development value lies at the root of
the escalation in house process in recent years.
Taking the land out of the market to hold it in trust for the benefit of the community maintains the
affordability of the housing. Build costs then have a closer relationship to average earnings, so
increases in the value of the built environment are likely to bear a much closer relationship to price
indices and hence to average earnings. The value of the land itself is then retained for the benefit of
Various schemes, such as shared ownership and Homebuy9, have been funded by central government
to make homeownership more accessible to those in the “intermediate market” category. They have
various disadvantages: they are not always affordable in comparison with a simple mortgage and,
depending on the prevailing level of interest rates, may entail a significantly higher monthly payment
than a mortgage for the full purchase price; they do not in themselves add to the overall supply of
housing; and the public investment is lost when the property is sold in due course on the open market.
Arguably, they may even contribute to house price inflation.
It is this problem that CLTs seek to address.
9 See Glossary below for a definition
3.2 Projects in Wales and beyond: some examples
Cornwall Community Land Trust
This experience is of particular interest for Wales, and rural Wales in particular, because many of the
demographic, geographic and economic aspects are comparable, and because consideration is now
being given to adaptation of this approach to a county-wide CLT in Pembrokeshire. Similar discussions
are being initiated in Wrexham.
This county-wide project has been developed in close co-operation with Cornwall Rural Housing
Association. An initial two-year project (2006 – 2008) was funded with the support of the Tudor Trust,
Cornwall County Council and DEFRA. Additional funding was provided by Carrick District Council,
North Cornwall District Council and Restormel Borough Council. This project led to the establishment
of Cornwall CLT Ltd, which is now taking this work forward.
An umbrella CLT was established for the whole of Cornwall to provide development services to local
CLTs. The Housing Association is a rural specialist, operating throughout Cornwall and in the Isles of
Scilly, and it is able to contribute expertise in the critical areas of planning, housing development, legal
issues, housing management, promotion and other housing-related issues.
The two-year project was envisaged as a demonstration project, to show how the CLT mechanism
could work in practice in relation to housing, as well as workspace, community space or community
woodland, ensuring community involvement in the delivery process. It also aimed to show how
planning, community development, housing allocation and regeneration issues could be tackled and
resolved, to provide a foundation upon which CLTs could go forward and operate as a viable
contribution to meeting the need for affordable housing.
The objectives of the two-year project were to achieve:
two schemes under construction;
two schemes with planning permission and where the site has been purchased;
two schemes which are ready to go forward to purchase
to promote the concept to communities, developers, landowners and RSLs, as well as to
community development organisations
to develop a strategy for establishing a county-wide umbrella, with local CLTs as partners
to develop a dialogue with County and District Councils
to develop finance tools, community investment expertise, intermediate market housing
models, and a revolving loan fund to meet initial speculative costs in relation to design and
Community Finance Solutions, based at the University of Salford was contracted to act as advisors and
has also developed a constitutional starter pack and worked extensively with specialist lawyers to
develop appropriate legal models.
The County-wide "umbrella" Community Land Trust has now been registered as an Industrial and
Provident Society with Charitable Rules (Registered Number 30200R). Three local CLTs have been
registered under that umbrella (St Just in Roseland, St Minver and St Ewe Affordable Homes Ltd.
Registration of a new CLT for Camelford and Delabole is pending and a group is working with the local
community at Stoke Climsland.
A five-year business plan has been adopted by the Board of Cornwall CLT Limited and will be
presented to potential funding partners. The aim is to deliver over 180 new homes on a number of sites
in the period to December 2012.
Detailed planning permission has been granted for a scheme of 13 affordable homes at Blisland (near
Bodmin) on land provided by North Cornwall District Council. The scheme comprises six affordable CLT
homes for sale to local people and seven affordable homes for rent to local people by CRHA. The
homes will be ready for occupation during March 2009.
Planning applications have been submitted for a further two schemes in Caradon. Planning applications
are to be submitted for a further four schemes in Caradon, North Cornwall, Penwith and Restormel
Districts. Caradon District Council has assisted with pre-development finance plus land on three sites.
Penwith, Restormel, and Carrick District Councils are assisting with site acquisitions.
Negotiations with other housing associations and private developers are well advanced on a number of
other schemes with a view to acquiring finished homes.
Stonesfield Village Trust
This example illustrates the potential for a CLT set up as a purely community-driven initiative using
privately raised funds. The scheme illustrates how retention of the value of the land by the community
can form the basis of both housing and community development, and how the value released by
planning permission can underpin that resource.
The project started as a response to house price escalation in the 1980s in Oxfordshire, an area of
enormous pressure on land prices. It began with the donation of a quarter-acre site by the
organisation‟s chair; a second donation of £3,000 paid for legal fees, other start-up costs and a
planning application for four houses.
The planning application was granted and the value of the site rose overnight as a result to £150,000,
which was then used as security for a bank loan. Four houses were built, one was later converted into
two flats and a granny flat was added to another, making six homes on the site. All were designed to a
high environmental specification.
A second quarter-acre site in the village was bought by the Trust with a loan of £80,000 from West
Oxfordshire District Council. Five more houses were completed by 1993 with funding from a variety of
sources, including banks, donations and private loans at low or no interest.
The housing is let to local people on modest incomes. They are managed on the trust‟s behalf by a
professional letting agent.
In 1994, a former silk-screen factory next to the Trust‟s second scheme was bought using bank loans
together with a grant from the Rural Development Agency and converted into two houses, a flat and two
workspaces. The loans are serviced by the rents generated and the mortgage was cleared within 10
years. The workspace was then converted for use by a pre-school group.
The trust has now repaid a large part of its borrowings. It has taken over the Post Office and increased
its housing to 15 dwellings.
Lessons from this scheme are that:
it was an initial donation of land that made all this possible
local people have contributed a large amount of money, time and expertise
the trust has worked in close co-operation with its local authority (the clerk to the parish
council and a county councillor sit on the board of the trust).
Castle Caereinion Community Land Trust
Castle Caereinion is a small village four miles to the west of Welshpool in mid-Wales. It has a primary
school, a church, a community centre, a shop, a pub, and a strong sense of its own identity. In the
1990s, a lot of sustained effort and commitment was put into extending and improving the community
centre. The success of this project affirmed a sense of confidence in the ability of local people to tackle
issues of concern to them, one of which was seen to be the lack of affordable homes for local people
within the village.
In 2005, the Castle Caereinion Community Council called a public meeting to discuss the need for more
homes and, as direct result, a steering group was set up to look into the matter. With the assistance of
Land for People, a housing needs survey was carried out, which found 14 households in housing need
a the majority of them with young working people wishing to live independently, nearby, in
accommodation they could afford. In 2007, the steering group decided to register the Castle
Caereinion Community Land Trust (the Trust), as a society for the benefit of the community, using the
model rules provided by Land for People.
A suitable site for a housing project was identified, close to the primary school on the edge of the
village, as part of a larger private housing development. The planning permission given for this
stipulated that the developer should give six serviced plots to Powys County Council, once half of the
private homes had been completed. Land for People asked for, and obtained, a commitment from the
Council that this land could instead be transferred directly from the developer into the ownership of the
The Trust has been working to put together a business case for the building of affordable homes that
will satisfy both the lenders, whose financial support is required, and the Council. At an early stage, the
idea of working in partnership with a local housing association was rejected by the Trust, because they
were keen to be seen by their community as a genuinely independent project. The present proposal, to
build up to 8 two-bedroomed houses, is the third version to be drawn up and will utilise a factory-built
design (produced by a firm only 14 miles away), and which will meet level 4 of the UK Government‟s
Code for Sustainable Homes, thus ensuring very low energy bills, and a reduced carbon footprint. The
housing will be very cheap to construct and, because the land will be made available at no cost, the
affordability of the scheme for local people is a real possibility. The houses will, however, be sold on a
freehold basis, with restrictions over onward sale based on a section 106 agreement (yet to be
finalised). Professional valuations at this stage suggest an open market value of about £93,500; it is
envisaged that purchasers will pay a deposit of 10% and that will be matched by the CLT using the land
as collateral. The result will be a mortgage of about £74,800, thus affordable to an individual on a
salary of less than £22,000 based on a multiplier of 3.5%.
The Trust has now secured an offer of pre-development finance from an ethical lender called
Venturesome and will be submitting an application to obtain detailed planning permission in the autumn
Ceredigion County Council – Bryn Salem, Felinfach (Lampeter): Restrictive Covenant
This was proposed as a new development of affordable housing on land owned by Ceredigion County
Council. The development was to consist of six two or three-bedroomed semi detached houses. It was
not conceived of as a Community Land Trust as such, but it exemplifies the potential application of the
restrictive covenant model by a local authority10. It appears, however, that this scheme will not now go
It was proposed that when completed, the houses would be offered for sale, including the freehold.
However, the sale price was to be set at the cost of developing the houses, excluding the cost of the
land. It was expected that sale prices will be in the region of between £88,000 and £98,000.
The onward sale in due course would then be restricted by a restrictive covenant registered against the
property based on the terms of the “section 106 agreement” applied to affordable housing provided by a
private developer, and essentially reflecting the criteria set in the Supplementary Housing Register for
eligibility to purchase affordable housing (see section 7 below). The covenant would limit the onward
sale price to the percentage of open market value applied in the initial purchase. There would also be
an occupancy condition (which would have had to be policed to be effective). In other words, if the
houses were first sold at 75% of open market value, the price charged in future sales would remain
75% of open market value, and prospective purchasers would be restricted in terms of eligibility as well.
It should be noted that the section 106 agreement does include provisos, so that if a sale could not be
achieved meeting all these requirements, it would proceed on the open market in terms of purchasers,
although the sale price would remain restricted.
The houses were to be built to a high standard and be compliant with the Welsh Assembly
Government‟s Design Quality Standard, achieving Level 3 of the Code for Sustainability. The plan was
for building to start in October 2009 and be completed in May 2010.
The Council envisaged that, in the long term, this device would protect affordability on the basis that,
while house prices are volatile, price rises taken over the long term tend to be more or less in line with
other price increases. From the point of view of public funds, it had the advantage that the only cost is
the cost of the land in itself; the remainder of the scheme was intended to be self-financing. In effect,
the land (or its value) was removed from the market, but its value would also have been lost to the
public sector and/or to the community.
The gain of such a scheme is the preservation of affordability, provided that rises in land values over
time remain consistent with other price rises. It addresses policy concerns such as the need for
housing for “key workers”. But if periods recur in which house prices escalate disproportionately, it
could be difficult for residents to move on into the open market and the housing itself could become
unaffordable, even at the discounted price, for a period of several years. This approach has the
advantage of simplicity, although it lacks flexibility and there are some obvious risks for prospective
see section 4 below
purchasers should they need to move on. It is an approach which some Community Land Trusts have
also adopted (including some of the early Cornwall developments).
Ceredigion County Council: intermediate tenure concept
Ceredigion County Council has been working with the Welsh Assembly Government to develop an
intermediate tenure model aimed at the „intermediate market‟, in other words those unable to access
“social” housing yet unable to afford adequate housing in the private housing market.
The scheme involves development of a Housing Investment Trust. Funding would be raised through a
combination of equity provided by the Welsh Assembly Government, bank loans and 30-year bonds.
Investors would obtain a “floating charge” over all investment trust assets. In other words, their loan
would be secured across the portfolio of assets as a whole, as opposed to individual units of housing or
developments. The housing would be leased directly to tenants by the Investment Trust, or through a
Registered Social Landlord.
It is possible that a scheme will be piloted in Ceredigion in the near future.
In principle, this concept is not far removed from the Mutual Homeownership Society model, the main
difference being that the community and residents have no direct interest in the housing investment,
and residents would not receive a lump sum on departure reflecting to their contribution to repayment of
the capital. Nor is it proposed that residents would have a role in management of the properties. The
finance mechanism is also structured differently. In short, MHOS is based on a co-operative
framework, whereas this proposed scheme Is not.
4. Formation of a Community Land Trust – Legal issues
Below is a summary of the basic considerations facing a Community Land Trust in terms of its legal
status and structure. The decision as to what structure to adopt is an important one and requires
careful consideration with reference to the organisation‟s objectives and identity. Failure to take the
right decision at this stage can give rise to problems later, and it is always more difficult to change at a
later stage when positions and activities have become established. Issues of fund-raising, the range of
activities contemplated in the future and, above all, ensuring that the value of the land and property
assets acquired by the Trust are retained for the benefit of the community in perpetuity must be kept at
the centre of the decision-making process.
4.1 Legal considerations: incorporation of the trust
Charitable bodies may be a trust, a company limited by shares or by guarantee, an Industrial &
Provident Society or an unincorporated association. They may not be a Community Interest Company.
• Tax-free donations
• Exemption from stamp duty on transfer of shares of land to the charity
• Occasionally, local authorities may grant exemption from payment of council tax on premises
occupied by the charity
• Relief from Corporation Tax
• Eligibility for funding by other charitable organisations.
• Supervision by the Charity Commission11
• Restriction of activities to those listed in the Charities Act 2006; they must also meet the public
• Restrictions on trading and potential restrictions on campaigning. Some charities trade
through trading subsidiaries.
Trusts are unincorporated. They are formed by a donor; the donor creates a trust deed, under which
s/he transfers assets to trustees to be held on behalf of beneficiaries. This has been done traditionally
by wealthy landowners, keeping land in the family while avoiding payment of inheritance tax. A trust
usually has at least three trustees. However, a company may be the sole trustee of a trust. Trustees
are personally liable for the manner in which they deal with assets and their conduct is governed by the
principle of utmost good faith; in other words, a very high standard in relation to the interests of the
It should be noted here that Industrial and Provident Societies which do not have any regulator and which have an income
of over £100,000 a year now also need to register with the Charity Commission.
Charitable trusts were the historical form of charities, but few newly formed charities choose this
structure because there is no limited liability for trustees.
Incorporation and limited liability
Once an organisation becomes active and wishes to acquire property and enter into contracts, its
members will be exposed to personal liability unless the organisation incorporates and limits the liability
of its members. The more difficult question lies in the choice of form of incorporation.
The Charities Act 2006 has introduced a new legal form of incorporation designed specifically for
charities, the Charitable Incorporated Organisation. The consultation process for this structure is still
ongoing; the aim is for introduction in 2010. If a decision is taken to opt for charitable status, what
follows should be reviewed in the light of what emerges from this consultation.
Private company limited by shares
The most common form of commercial body. Not usually considered appropriate for organisations
operating for community benefit; the duty and objectives of the directors of such a company are to
maximise “shareholder value”, not social objectives.
Companies limited by guarantee (CLG)
These were designed for non-profit activity. No shares are issued. Liability of members is limited to
their guarantee, usually a nominal £1. They are cheap to form. However, if the objective is to operate
as a social enterprise, and there is a need to raise capital, this form lacks mechanisms to achieve this.
It can raise funds from the public through donations and possible through a loan stock issue; this is a
loan, however, and must be repaid. In practice, loan stock issues are almost never made. Some CLGs
do borrow from Charity Bank.
Grant providers are, well-used to this structure and it is by far the most commonly used by charities.
Public Limited Companies (plc)
They must raise and maintain a minimum share capital of £50,000, of which at least one quarter must
be paid up. They may raise capital by issuing shares to the public through a process which is strictly
regulated and expensive. This has been done by ethical businesses such as the Ethical Property
Company and the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Industrial and Provident Societies
A democratic form of company structure governed by Rules (as opposed to the Memorandum and
Articles of limited company) and their Board is usually known as a committee. They are registered with
and supervised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Withdrawable shares are issued and usually
bought back at par, meaning for the same amount as they were issued for. This form is commonly
used by housing associations, and by co-operatives, including credit unions. An IPS must fall into one
of two categories in order to be registered: a bona fide cooperative (typically a worker or consumer co-
operative), operating for the benefit of its members, or a “bencom society”, a society for the benefit of
the community, which must also show good reason to the FSA why it should register as an IPS rather
than a limited company.
It follows that a CLT opting for the IPS structure would be a bencom society, not one formed for the
benefit of its members.
They are subject to a limited return on investment, and must operate on a one member, one vote basis.
Individual investors may invest a maximum of £20,000, unless they are other IPSs. This may be
increased in the near future.
• An effective asset lock, ensuring that assets are retained for the benefit of the community
• The scope to raise funds through the issue of share capital
• Other IPSs can invest in it as members and the amount of their investment is not restricted.
• Cost of registration and fees payable to the FSA
• Greater complexity.
This type of governance structure has traditionally been used by a number of categories of business,
and the FSA keeps model rules for the various categories (which include housing associations,
agricultural societies, credit unions); if model rules are used, registration is cheaper; the more the model
rules are amended, the greater the cost.
Limited Liability Partnerships
A form of partnership where partners may limit their liability; much used by the professions, such as
lawyers and accountants, and defined by the conduct of business in the pursuit of profit. It is not,
therefore compatible with chartable status, although it is possible for a charity to enter into a limited
liability partnership with other organisations, whether or not they are charitable. However, any money
generated by such a venture would be subject to taxation in the usual way and charitable exemptions
would not apply.
Community Interest Companies
These are designed for social enterprises, businesses motivated by a social mission rather than private
profit. They must therefore work in the interest of the community and, in order to register as a “CIC”,
convince a Regulator based at Companies House that that is the case. Unlike charities, their trading
activities are not restricted (except by their community interest remit), and they are not defined by the
list of statutory functions that governs charitable status. There is a cap on the return payable to
investors, with a view to balancing the need to attract investment with the need to ensure that the main
beneficiary is the community.
Companies limited by shares or by guarantee may be a CIC, as can a plc. Co-operatives UK have
drawn up model rules enabling cooperatives also to be a CIC.
Significantly for CLTs, CICs are subject to an asset lock, which means that, on a winding up, its assets
must be transferred to another organisation with a similar asset lock, or to a charity.
CICs do not have the tax advantages of charities. Their main benefit is the mechanism to restrict the
organisation‟s activities to support its social mission, and the asset lock preventing private disposal of
its assets. Moreover, only share capital CICs can raise equity investment in the form of shares and the
process of doing so is expensive, in the same way as with a plc.
The decision on how to incorporate has long-term implications. It is possible to be swayed by
considerations of cost and expediency, or by apparent simplicity. But any decision must be taken in the
light of the organisation‟s culture and objectives, both present and potential, as well as any relationship
envisaged with other organisations. A CLT may, for example, want to consider participation or
partnership in a community energy scheme, or in a workspace, social care, or food project, with fund-
raising or partnership implications. It may view itself as primarily an enabling organisation offering
support to other CLTs, and it may envisage reliance on support through grants from foundations.
The first choice for AACLT is likely to be whether to form a CIC, or to go down the Industrial and
Provident Society for Community Benefit route, most probably using the model rules available through
Land for People, subject to any modifications they feel needed to reflect their future objectives.
If, on the other hand, AACLT opts for charitable status, the choice at present is essentially between a
Company Limited by Guarantee, registering with the Charity Commission, or an IPS with exempt status,
currently from HM Customs and Excise12. However, the position in this context will need to be
reviewed when the consultation on the structure of the proposed Charitable Incorporated
Organisation is finalised and the new provisions and regulations are clarified, probably in 2010.
Any decision must take into account whether charitable purposes will limit the scope of the activities it
wants to undertake and the impact, positive and negative, on its abilities to raise funds.
If it chooses to become a CIC, the choices are limited company, company limited by guarantee, or a
Both IPS and CLG forms have been used by CLTs, and model rules are available for both.
4.2 Legal considerations: tenure and re-sale (preserving affordability)
Having itself incorporated, a CLT engaged in housing development must then consider the highly
complex questions involved in land and housing acquisition and tenure. Existing legislation operates to
make retention of the land asset in community (CLT) ownership difficult; “right to buy” and leasehold
enfranchisement legislation operate to promote the private ownership of freehold land. The picture is
made more complex by the requirements of finance providers of mortgages or other loans to enable
prospective residents to purchase an interest in the building in which they live. Those requirements
have become more restrictive in recent months following the crisis in the financial markets and a
reaction to excessive risk-taking in the past. Negotiations between lending institutions and the CLT
demonstration project13 are at present underway. Their objective is to construct models acceptable to
both borrowers and lenders and an acceptable allocation of risk.
The scale of any development is a deciding factor in this process. Also of crucial importance is the
financial position of prospective residents, and whether the development is likely to envisage an
arrangement closer to tenancy or to homeownership. As the cost of land has soared in recent years, at
a rate far outstripping average earnings, the former is beginning to appear increasingly realistic.
Below are a number of schemes that have been devised and, in some cases, applied by CLTs to date.
Choice of a model will be governed by what is possible on the one hand, and what the objectives and
priorities of the CLT in terms of the other aspects of sustainability, such as community participation and
cohesion, on the other.
Furthermore, if the intention is eventually to use the land asset to raise finance for a further CLT
development, or some other development such as a community energy scheme or workspace,
retention of the freehold by the CLT could be vital and should be built into the model if at all possible.
A further point to note is that, where the model allows for eventual transfer of the land asset (the
freehold) into the open market, so that the CLT merely recovers the cash equivalent, shortages of land
for housing could in many instances prevent replacement of the housing sold. By the time suitable land
were identified and negotiated, the price could have risen beyond the cash realised.
The prospective resident buys the freehold with a mortgage in the usual way. The CLT makes a
secured loan to the resident for the difference between the (reduced) price and the open market value
of the dwelling, expressed as a percentage. When the dwelling is sold at a later date, the resident
repays the loan, the amount of the repayment being the same percentage of the sale price. Thus, if the
secured loan was 50% of open market value, the amount of the repayment would be 50% of the sale
price on the open market. The CLT retains the right of first refusal when the resident puts the dwelling
up for sale, and a right to nominate the next buyer (the “right of pre-emption”). The CLT also makes
certain administrative charges.
However, the resident still has a right under common law to redeem the equity mortgage and buy the
CLT out. Control of the land asset and its inherent value could ultimately be lost.
Indicative costings for a CLT model designed on this basis are set out in Appendix III below.
The CLT demonstration project in England is led by Community Finance Solutions at the University of Salford
Declaration of Trust Lease
The CLT grants a lease to the borrower and to itself, thereby overcoming the lessor‟s right in due
course to purchase the freehold under the leasehold enfranchisement provisions. The lease specifies
their respective shares. Again, the CLT retains its nomination rights and the right of first refusal on
Re-sale price covenant
A very simple solution. The dwelling is sold at a fixed percentage of open market value, thereby
creating a permanent discount. Unless the percentage is set very low, which means that development
costs would also have to be very low, there may be affordability problems in the future. There is no
retention of value by the CLT and the community through this mechanism.
Rent to equity
Residents have a 20 year assured rental tenancy with full repairing obligations. When they leave, they
receive a lump sum calculated as a percentage of the increased value of the part of the development
they occupy, and reflecting the proportion of the borrowings, taken out by the CLT to finance the
development, which their rental payments have financed during the period of their occupancy. They will
also pay a service and administrative charge. Rents are set as a percentage of earnings - the more rent
paid, the higher the equity payment on departure. Tenants will also have the option to pay additional
rent in return for a greater equity stake.
If, however, the tenant remains beyond the 21-year limit, s/he may acquire a right to purchase the
freehold. Moreover, the lump sum will be taxable and any means-tested benefits would also be
Residents are granted assured shorthold tenancies (again, not leases subject to enfranchisement). On
departure, residents receive a payment representing the amount of rent paid, less the trust‟s costs in
servicing the mortgage and overheads in relation to the dwelling they occupied. That payment may
contribute towards a deposit for housing in the open market or towards entry into one of the other
schemes described above, or be used for other purposes. Again, the payment will be taxable and
entitlement to means-tested benefits would be affected.
The Mutual Homeownership Society (MHOS)
This model is best suited to larger developments of, say, fifty or more dwellings. Indicative costins of
this model are set out in Appendix III. The way it works is that a co-operative, the Mutual Home
Ownership Society, is set up to develop and manage the housing and is granted a lease of the land by
the CLT at a nominal rent. The MHOS builds the housing under a building licence granted by the CLT.
The MHOS raises finance for the development using the land as security with the consent of the CLT.
Residents occupy their unit under a long sub-lease. The land asset remains owned by the CLT, but
equity shares in the dwellings are traded through the cooperative when residents leave, enabling
residents to realise an element of their capital contribution to the scheme.
The model has significant advantages in terms of retention of the land asset in community ownership,
democratic governance structures, reduced mortgage and transaction costs, reduced management
overheads and considerable flexibility for residents. Rents are set as a percentage of income,
guaranteeing affordability. The shares acquired over time are then related to the amount of rent paid.14
Indicative costings for this model are set out in Appendix IV.
Self-build relates to method of construction, rather than to the legal and financial form of the
development itself, so it could, in theory at least, be considered as an option in any one of the above
Self-build can take many forms, from choice by an individual working with an architecture of design and
development process, to use of off-site construction, to an individual physically undertaking the entire
process themselves or with help from others.
Self-build can therefore be extremely expensive, or it can achieve significant savings because the
future owner/resident contributes some or most of the labour themselves. It avoids the profit element
which normally goes to a developer.
As might be expected, however, there are a number of complications in this approach, for example:
A lender providing finance for the build will be very cautious
The funds will only be released in stages and subject to very strict terms; this is likely to be
more complicated than where a well-established building company is involved
A high level of the necessary skills, or access to them, is required, not least in order to
meet building regulations and planning requirements; this could impose considerable
restrictions on participants in the scheme
It is even more difficult than with a conventional development to keep control of time and
Self-builders need to have some form of adequate accommodation while the build is taking
place; unless people are willing to live in a caravan for the duration, payment of rent during
the build will add to the cost.
Off-site construction is an option available both to self-build and schemes developed by a CLT, as well
as to more conventional development. It is becoming increasingly popular and can offer significant
savings in terms of build costs. Land for People has done a considerable amount of exploratory work in
this area with a manufacturer based in Mid-Wales. Build costings for a range of housing types are
attached at Appendix III.
For more detailed information, see New Foundations: Unlocking the potential for affordable homes, published by The Co-
operative Party, 2009
A housing co-operative is compatible with the types of development described above. The MHOS, for
example, is based on self-management by a co-operative of the development once occupied. A
Community Land Trust based on a co-operative form of governance has much to recommend it and is
highly compatible with the aspirations underpinning CLTs generally.
Some Registered Social Landlords (such as Birmingham Cooperative Housing Services and Accord in
the West Midlands) have successfully developed housing co-operatives based on a rental model.
It is quite possible for a co-operative to form and jointly purchase land for a housing development; co-
housing arrangements are not dissimilar in many ways. This does not, however, in itself solve the
affordability problem, although it might spread it around or enable economies to be achieved that are
not possible for individual households.
Leasehold enfranchisement legislation must be considered and circumnavigated by any model in which
importance is attached to the principle of retention of the land in community ownership. The central
question is whether the scheme is primarily about access to affordable housing, or whether it also has
broader community development aspirations. The case of Stonesfield (see section 4 above) illustrates
how community ownership can facilitate the flexible development of housing and other community
requirements based on the release of the value represented by the land.
The use of the re-sale price covenant device has the advantage of simplicity and it is a tried and tested
form that is readily understood by lenders. The simplicity of the covenant itself, may be undermined by
the complexity of other criteria designed to ensure community benefit, such as local residency, key
worker status, carer status and occupancy, which have to be policed and enforced for years to come.
This model was adopted in the proposed Felinfach scheme now abandoned by Ceredigion County
Council and described in section 3 above.
Perpetual affordability is a critical problem, and schemes depend on the availability of land to the CLT
at low or no cost. In some cases, the transfer of land and subsequent grant of planning permission for
a residential development will amount to a major asset against which funds can then be raised to
proceed with the development.
It is widely accepted that the MHOS comes closest to meeting the aspirations of CLTs. It is
comparatively complex, but it offers a number of important social, financial and environmental
advantages. A significant difficulty is the need for sufficient scale securing the financial viability of this
model, and this is a particular challenge in the rural context. It is also an obstacle because of the risk
involved in any innovation; the larger the development, the greater the financial risk involved, whether
actual or perceived.
4.3 Further considerations: social, environmental, cultural – CLT governance
In addressing the question of how to constitute itself, and with that its objectives, values and
identity, the CLT should also spend time and effort on considering governance principles and how
it intends to operate as the organisation develops. The following list of requirements and goals15
may serve as a guide:
A statement of aims and a code of conduct which all members and board members
A process for the board to identify the skills and experience it needs; recognising any
gaps that should be filled, either by co-option, through paid staff, through consultancy.
The CVs of the board will probably be requested by any mortgage lender and it is
preferable to identify and fill skill gaps before seeking finance, rather than plugging a
gap at the request of a potential lender. However, there must also be a balance
between these skills and expertise on the one hand and representation of the
community on the other.
A policy to identify conflicts of interest between the CLT as a whole and individual
board or other members; and a procedure for how conflicts should be dealt with.
A process through which the organisation engages with and involves the wider
community, either directly through membership or through some form of
representation; or indirectly through newsletters or public consultations.
Measures adopted to make sure the organisation is open, accessible and responsive.
A strategy to retain and recruit expertise, eg through the election or appointment of
new board members from the membership or through other routes.
Adequate procedures to ensure transparent annual reporting of the CLT‟s affairs.
Provision for adequate education and training of both officers and members to ensure
that they understand their respective roles and responsibilities.
Anyone wishing to be a member or stand for election to the board should confirm they
support the aims of and ways of working established by the organisation. This means
having a statement of values which those seeking membership or standing for the
board must agree to sign.
The organisation should have in place policies to regulate and deal with situations
where board members or individual members have conflicts of interest, eg the
architect who put the initial scheme together and would now like a paid commission; or
the landowner who sold the CLT its land, but wants to support it further as a board
The organisation should not be dependent on a few individuals, but be capable of
being renewed and continued through its membership, or by recruiting new members.
drawn up by David Rogers, CEO of CDS Co-operatives
4.4 Financial aspects
Appendix IV contains indicative costings for a Mutual Homeownership model, in which earnings
and rental payments are related. A small development of affordable housing suitable for a village
or an initial pilot development has been costed out in the University of Salford‟s CLT demonstration
project, led by Bob Paterson and Steve Bendle.
Taking a development of six homes as a starting point, they have made an assumption of the cost
of land at £5,000 per home and a build and development cost of £125,000 per home. If a sale
price of £90,000 is seen as affordable in a given locality, the total cost would amount to £780,000,
against receipts of £540,000, which leaves a gap of £40,000 per home.
There are various ways of covering this gap:
Welsh Assembly Government grant
Development of open market homes on adjacent land and using the profit to fill the gap
Use of self-build to reduce the build cost
A reduction in specification
Local authority “commuted sums16”
A combination of the above.
Clearly, all of these figures are variable and depend on local conditions, the nature of the
development, land values, the finance available. The various models described above use a range
of sale/disposal methods, and these will also vary, not least because of how lenders evaluate risk
and what they are prepared to consider.
In order to assist CLTs evaluate the possibilities, the University of Salford has developed a tool in
the form of a spreadsheet. The relevant assumptions can be entered by the CLT and the overall
implications duly assessed.
These are sums received by a local authority from a developer in lieu of compliance with a a section 106 agreement.
This money must be invested by the local authority in social housing within five years; if it fails to do so, it must be
returned to the developer.
5. Policy context
This section highlights some of the main policy considerations relevant to potential Community
Land Trust developments in Ceredigion. These are significant, because they affect all aspects of
CLT projects, not least how they may be treated in terms of funding and planning applications. In
the areas of housing and planning, public servants are working to implement policies set by the
Welsh Assembly Government and local authorities across a range of social, economic and
environmental objectives. It is therefore crucial to have an understanding of how the objectives of
the CLT relate to policy in order to be able to argue its case, both to potential public sector funders
and to foundations, which will want to be reassured of the future viability of the scheme once their
funding has come to an end.
The outline below is not intended to be comprehensive, but to highlight some of the main areas of
potential relevance to CLTs.
5.1 Policy context: Wales
One Wales: June 2007
One Wales is the over-arching policy document adopted by the Welsh Assembly government for
implementation over the Assembly term. It identifies the key priorities for that period.
The document recognises the shortage of affordable housing and the pressure on housing supply
generally, and commits the Assembly Government to meeting housing need, improving access to
housing, increasing the supply of affordable housing and “ensuring 21st century housing”. There is
also a commitment to tackling homelessness. There are other, related commitments, such as to
community regeneration, enhancing citizenship and community cohesion, tackling climate change,
supporting rural communities and creating a sustainable environment.
In the context of increasing the supply of affordable housing, the policy is clear and explicit that the
WAG “… will promote the expansion of Community Land Trusts in Wales.”
The One Wales Delivery Plan sets out broadly how the policy commitments will be implemented.
With regard to Community Land Trusts, the Delivery Plan allocated a new budget of £100k each
year to the promotion of CLTs, to be linked with the existing work of Rural Housing Enablers to
maximise effect. A Rural Housing Development fund has also been launched by the Deputy
Minister for Housing.
Overall, the WAG has set a target of 6,500 new affordable homes over four years. While, in the
main, housing provision is not a mechanism envisaged by the Delivery Plan in relation to those
specific objectives, clearly many aspects of CLT development can be seen as a potential
A Home for all
Lack of good-quality housing affects people‟s health and well-being, and influences their long-term
life chances. Everyone has the right to an affordable home as owner, as part-owner or as tenant. A
stock of good-quality, affordable homes is the foundation of thriving local communities in all four
corners of Wales.
The shortage of affordable housing, to rent or to buy, is one of the greatest challenges facing many
communities in Wales. Many places are already experiencing very considerable housing pressure,
with local people effectively priced out of the housing market, unable to afford a home. The
resulting impact on individuals, families and communities is all too evident across Wales.
Our ambition is to ensure that all households, in all communities and irrespective of their means,
can afford a decent home.
Working together, we will create new tools to ensure that housing is affordable in the areas of most
severe housing pressure. We will also ensure that the supply of affordable housing increases by at
least 6,500 over the next four years. We will also provide financial support to young people who
want to buy their first home in their own community but cannot afford to do so.
One Wales, Welsh Assembly Government, 2007
People, Places, Futures: The Wales Spatial Plan (Update 2008)
This document is part of a long-term (20-year) policy framework; the update builds on the original
Spatial Plan approved by the Assembly Government in 2004. Its purpose is “to ensure that what is
done in the public, private and third sectors in Wales is integrated and sustainable, and that the
actions within an area support each other…”. „Sustainable development‟ is the over-arching aim.
In this context it is important to recognise that “sustainability” and “sustainable development” does
not, as is often assumed, refer purely to environmental sustainability. These terms also incorporate
social and economic sustainability, and assume a balance between these three elements.
The document identifies six sub-regions in Wales, although the boundaries for those regions are
not fixed. The Plan sets “cross-cutting spatial priorities” in areas such as health, education,
housing and the economy, and Spatial Plan Area Groups bring together local authorities, private
sector, the third sector and Assembly Government agencies to achieve the “strategic vision” for the
Better Homes for People in Wales – WAG Housing Strategy (July 2001):
„The vision: We want everyone in Wales to have the opportunity to live in good quality, affordable
housing; to be able to choose where they live and decide whether buying or renting is best for them
and their families.‟
While for pragmatic reasons, the report focuses on standard tenure definitions, it states explicitly
that the ambition is to move away from the perceived norms of “owning = good, renting = bad” in
order to make real choices possible without sacrifices of quality in either sector.
In summary the strategy focuses on the need for both the provision of housing and improvement of
existing stock. Other objectives include:
• Tenant participation compacts to bring tenants into decision-making process
• Addressing problems with the maintenance of owner-occupied housing and the aim to
explore the conversion of privately-owned housing into rented housing where this provides
a “better solution”
• The document recognises that the condition of housing in the private rented sector is
worse than in the public/RSL sectors
Under the heading “sustainable homeownership”, flexible tenure options and mixed tenure
communities are seen as ways forward, with the aim to review and develop existing low-cost
homeownership schemes to make them more relevant to local housing strategies.
In policy terms, „Sustainable Homeownership‟ is coupled with low-cost homeownership policies.
There is also an acceptance of the need for decent, affordable housing for rent in the private and
social sectors. Housing policy sees as the ability to “staircase” between tenures without the need
to move home as a desirable objective. While Community Land Trusts strive for a structure and
legal framework that will enable the land asset to remain in community ownership, the gradual
acquisition of shares in the housing itself by residents is arguably consistent with this WAG policy
objective17. On the other hand, “staircasing” to 100% ownership arguably defeats the central
purpose of the CLT.
The document recognises the need for good information and advice to “marginal homeowners” to
ensure that they are aware of the risks and options available.
More generally, the Housing Strategy document recognises the key themes of health and well-
being in the One Wales document, and acknowledges the role of housing in that context. It also
emphasises the linkage between housing and the National Economic Development Strategy in
terms of social and economic infrastructure, employment, training and investment implications.
It should be noted that, in evaluating best value, which the Strategy aspires to see applied across
all public housing in Wales, the factors of improved partnership working and greater local
accountability, and the need for more community involvement all feature as relevant
Finally, there is specific reference to the problem of fuel poverty18. The document states that
220,000 homes in Wales lack basic insulation and/or heating systems to address this, with obvious
implications for health and well-being.
Unitary Development Plans:
Local authorities are required each to draw up a Unitary Development Plan for their area, within the
framework set by the Welsh Assembly Government in its overarching planning policy document19.
The WAG Housing Strategy document expresses the required approach in the following way:
see section 5 above on CLT formation
18 defined as households obliged to spend more than 10% of their income on keeping warm
19 Planning Policy Wales, 2002
„The regeneration of our communities is supported by the land use planning
system. In producing their Unitary Development Plans, local planning authorities
should devise a settlement strategy which comprises housing policies and a
spatial pattern of housing development balancing social, economic and
environmental needs. Settlement strategies will be informed by sustainability
appraisal. They should be fully justified and be compatible with other policies
such as transport and other infrastructure provision.
We are keen to promote a customer-centred approach to the allocation of social
housing, as well as taking account of housing need. It is our aim to see social
housing provided within mixed, settled communities which are socially inclusive.‟
Planning Policy Wales (March 2002)
Planning policy is clearly a crucial consideration for any housing or land use scheme, and some of
the main considerations contained in the Welsh Assembly Government‟s national planning policy
are set out below. As we have seen, planning policy does not always sit easily in terms of its
emphasis and priorities with housing and regeneration needs.
Welsh planning policy requires:
• Promotion of resource-efficient settlement patterns
• Minimisation of land-take, avoiding green-field sites where possible
• Account to be taken of the need to minimise emissions of greenhouse gases
• Promotion of renewable energy
• That communities have sufficient good quality housing for their needs
• That development is accessible by means other than the private car
• Promotion of „quality, lasting, environmentally sound and flexible employment
In planning for the provision of new housing, local authorities must take account of the Assembly
Government‟s latest household projections, local housing strategies, local housing needs, unmet
need, and an area‟s capacity to accommodate more housing. Consideration of the Welsh
language is mentioned as a relevant consideration in this context. Environmental and energy
implications must be taken into account, as must infrastructure. They must ensure that sufficient
land is made available to provide a five-year supply of land for housing.
Social enterprise strategy
The Welsh Assembly Government‟s social enterprise strategy was published in 2005. It makes no
specific mention of Community Land Trusts; however, as a form of social enterprise, Community
Land Trusts should expect to draw on the support for social enterprise contained in the Strategy‟s
These include, through creation of an enabling environment and encouraging the development of
• Increasing the involvement of social enterprises in delivering public services
• Linkage to regeneration programmes
• Supporting specialist networks
• Ensuring that legal and regulatory issues do not hinder development of the sector
Most notably, the following were included among the targets for the period 2005 - 2008:
• £6 million of transferred assets to social enterprises
• £12 million investment secured to purchase and/or refurbish assets.
The Strategy was renewed in 2009, with publication of the Social Enterprise Action Plan. The
Plan recognises the significance of co-operative and mutual provision in Wales, and its traditional
roots. It also recognises the role of mutual housing in that context. Moreover, the drive to achieve
the Welsh Housing Quality Standard, and the housing stock transfer programme, alongside carbon
reduction targets, regeneration objectives and combating social exclusion resulting from
homelessness are all relevant to the mission of CLTs.
As well as reinforcing the Assembly Government‟s commitment to social enterprise as a valuable
support for many of its strategic action areas, a £9 million Community Asset Transfer Fund was
established to “help third sector organisations and social enterprises renovate public buildings to
offer services to the community”.
5.2 Policy context: Ceredigion
Housing stock transfer
A significant development in relation to affordable housing provision in Ceredigion is that
Ceredigion tenants recently voted in favour of stock transfer to Tai Ceredigion Housing Association
November 2008)20. The transfer of local authority housing stock to Registered Social Landlords
(housing associations) is intimately linked with the effort to improve public sector housing and to
achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. Stock transfer enables the housing stock to be
transferred to RSLs free of debt. This in turn allows the RSL in question to borrow the investment
required to upgrade the dwellings.
This linkage is driven by UK government policy, which restricts local authorities‟ ability to retain
their income and the receipts from the sale of council housing to apply to the improvement of
existing stock or the development of new housing stock. Because of central government policy on
the use of income and receipts from sales, this is viewed by the Council as a positive development
in that it will enable investment to go forward to bring the stock up to the Welsh Housing Quality
Ceredigion 2020: Ceredigion Community Strategy
The Ceredigion Community Strategy „Ceredigion 2020‟ forms the „overarching vision‟ for the
County. To support the vision, five themes have been identified as well as a number of „cross-
cutting issues‟. They are Health, Social Care and Well-being, Economic Success, a High Quality
Environment, Lifelong Learning and Stronger Communities. These „themes‟ define the broad aims
and priorities for the County, and form a framework within which other policies and strategies must
operate, including climate change policy. Housing thus has a major part to play in the delivery of
the Community Strategy as a whole.
RCT Homes is an interesting case study in this context. It is a housing community mutual, established in 2007.,
when it immediately took over ownership and management of over 10,000 units of housing from Rhondda Cynon Taf
County Borough Council. In taking forward the WHQS programme, it has a significant capital expenditure budget
(£170 million over 5 years), and has adopted a job creation and regeneration approach in its tendering processes.
The Council‟s vision for housing in the County of Ceredigion is one that is key to its sustainable or
„Stronger Communities‟ theme agenda in the Ceredigion Community Strategy „Ceredigion 2020‟. It
is one in which housing provision contributes to community cohesion, economic prosperity, other
social goals and the eco-agenda whilst delivering accessible, decent and affordable homes for all.
It also recognises that housing problems and their solutions are often connected as part of a single
housing system and that to achieve the vision, there is a need for robust strategic leadership in
relation to housing.
Our long term housing vision for Ceredigion therefore is -
To ensure that good quality housing accommodation is available to everyone in Ceredigion
regardless of tenure preference and to promote the provision of housing services that are of the
highest standards of quality and choice.
Our highest level strategic housing objectives will aim to create a housing „system‟ that works well
and one which is consistent with Ceredigion 2020 themes. These are Ceredigion‟s broad housing
priorities and the themes which will determine the focus of our activities for the next 10 – 15 years.
Ceredigion Housing Strategy, 2007 - 2012 (draft)
Planning: Ceredigion Unitary Development Plan
Ceredigion‟s Unitary Development Plan was submitted in 2002, but the Welsh Assembly
Government has directed that certain changes be made, among other things in relation to its
settlement boundaries (the Inspector considered that they had been drawn too widely, risking
unsustainable over-provision of housing). Ceredigion‟s UDP therefore cannot yet be adopted. It
should be noted that the issue of settlement boundaries does not affect the six main towns in the
County, one of which is Aberystwyth. This problem may, however, affect some of the surrounding
villages and it highlights the potential conflict between implementation of a housing strategy and
the drivers determining planning decisions21.
In consequence, the Dyfed Structure Plan, which was last amended in 1991, remains the adopted
plan. This Plan sets the principles governing what and how much land should be made available
for housing development. The availability of land follows a “settlement hierarchy”; at the top of this
hierarchy, major residential development is permissible at Aberaeron, Aberystwyth / Commins
Coch / Llanbadarn Fawr, Bow Street, Cardigan and Lampeter. Other categories are “moderate”
residential development (which includes Borth), “modest” (which includes Llanilar and Llanfarian).
In addition, “minor” residential may be permitted in areas not listed within the above categories.
There is, however, a presumption against residential development in open countryside. On the
other hand, there is a presumption in favour of the conversion of existing appropriate, redundant
buildings unless already derelict or semi-derelict.
Six „key settlements‟, which include Aberystwyth, have been adopted by Ceredigion County
Council and the Ceredigion 2020 Partnership linking key settlements to the Wales Spatial Plan. It is
likely that large scale activity and actions relating to housing provision will be directed towards
21 see section 2 above
these areas in the future and Community Strategy thematic groups have already started examining
The Unitary Development Plan, however, still carries weight, even though not formally adopted. It
will be succeeded by a Local Development Plan in due course. The Unitary Development Plan,
too, reiterates the housing shortage, the projected growth in the number of households as a result
of population increase and changes in household composition. The Local Development Plan will,
therefore, be expected to take this into account. Moreover, failure to do so could give rise to
unplanned development, rising house prices, an increasingly difficult situation for local people as
in-migration continues and increased out-migration of younger people, with its attendant impact on
local culture, the Welsh language and the economy.
The Local Development Plan will therefore have to develop a settlement strategy to meet these
needs at appropriate locations across the County.
In housing developments of more than 10 units of housing, the Council will aim to negotiate an
element of affordable housing where a local need has been identified. In Ceredigion, this is
expected to be based on a requirement of 30%, but this may be higher in higher density areas.
Rural Exceptions Policies
These are of particular relevance to proposed CLT schemes in village contexts. Where a local
need has been demonstrated which cannot be met by provision in “more sustainable locations”
through the Unitary Development Plan, and the development is of an appropriate scale and design,
with no adverse impacts on environment, transport or amenities, planning permission may be given
– subject to planning conditions and obligations “to pass on the low cost benefits to future
occupiers in perpetuity.”
Supplementary Planning Guidance
This has not yet been finalised. However, an Affordable Housing Advice Pack (Affordable Homes
– Ceredigion‟) is available and sets out the rules governing eligibility for subsidised schemes.
Ceredigion Housing Strategy 2007 – 2012
Our highest level strategic housing objectives will aim to create a housing „system‟ that works well
and one which is consistent with Ceredigion 2020 themes. These are Ceredigion‟s broad housing
priorities and the themes which will determine the focus of our activities for the next 10 – 15 years.
A housing system where there is –
• Sufficient & accessible housing to meet demand
• Sufficient flexibility to respond to changes in demand within a reasonable timescale
without disruption to existing communities
• Acceptable short term solutions to market failures e.g. homelessness
• Housing Stock Environments which are managed and maintained to a high level i.e. they
are safe and secure, healthy, sustainable, visually attractive, maximise independence,
reduce inequality and facilitate strong communities
• Housing Conditions whose appearance and management does not undermine the
popularity of areas
• Housing provision that contributes to creating a strong local economy
• The housing market is based on choices made by individual consumers
• Housing information, advice, support which is readily available and the promotion of good
housing practice is encouraged.
Ceredigion Housing Strategy, 2007 – 2012 (draft)
The Ceredigion Housing Strategy is still in draft form and under consultation. It sets out a detailed
analysis of the housing problems and objectives facing Ceredigion as a whole. Below are
highlighted aspects of particular relevance to AACLT at this stage; there are other aspects that
relate, for example, to building design and approaches, and will need further consideration once
the CLT is in a position to take a housing project forward.
The County Council emphasises a partnership approach in relation to housing, and works closely
with two Registered Social Landlords in Ceredigion, Cymdeithas Tai Cantref and Mid Wales
Housing Association as partners. Clearly, now that the stock transfer has taken place of the
Council‟s housing, Tai Ceredigion will take a leading role in delivery of housing policy in terms of
direct supply of housing, although, significantly, the Council has retained management of the
waiting list. The Council also anticipates working more closely with the University in the future,
because of the impact of matters relating to and affecting student accommodation on the County‟s
overall housing stock.
A Housing Needs Study was carried out for Ceredigion in 2004; it concluded that the only sector in
which there was no shortage was the larger, privately-owned sector (“executive homes”). It
identified an estimated net shortfall in housing of 502 dwellings each year. The shortfall breaks
down as follows: 77% private sector housing, 11% social rented housing, 11% “alternative forms of
subsidised housing. The target for overall housing development in Aberystwyth is 1400 (2007 –
Homelessness in Ceredigion is a severe and growing problem, by 2005 the second highest in
Wales. 64% of homelessness acceptances between 2000 and 2005 were single people and
childless couples. Set against the County‟s social housing stock, the homelessness statistics put
Ceredigion in the worst position in Wales.
The Council is adopting an “Invest to Save” policy in its effort to prevent homelessness; in other
words, it sees spending on measures to prevent homelessness as a better investment than coping
with its consequences.
The issue of homeless is linked with the “Supporting People” programme, whose role is supporting
people in accessing appropriate housing. In this context, the focus is on vulnerable groups with
problems which have exposed them to homelessness, as opposed to the general shortage of
housing in the County.
Priorities and key actions identified in the Strategy to achieve “sustainable, vibrant and strong
communities” are as follows:
• Increasing investment in the Council‟s housing stock to attain the Welsh Housing Quality
Standard (WHQS) 2012
• Increasing the provision of purpose built or re-modelled extra care housing
accommodation for the elderly
• Reducing the number of empty or wasted homes
• Increasing the supply of affordable housing by reviewing the Council‟s land holdings
• Improving housing conditions in the Private Rented Sector by introducing Mandatory and
• Reducing the incidence of anti-social behaviour and neighbour nuisance.
The draft Strategy also refers to discussions relating to the proposed appointment of a Rural
Housing Enabler; however, that process has now been resolved, and an RHE is now in post in
According to the Strategy, there appear to be a considerable number of empty homes in
Ceredigion; in 2007, the number estimated was 3,840 (10.5%), above the national average and
above what might be expected from normal market turnover. 509 were found to be closed or
derelict and the trend is seen as rising. Concentrations are identified in tourist areas where there
are large numbers of holiday homes. Council policy is to set up an Empty Homes Register and to
work with owners to bring long-term empty homes back into use; failing that, the Council has the
power to apply to a Residential Property Tribunal for an Interim Management Order and take
control of the premises, letting them out to people in housing need. Policy is that this step should
be a last resort.
Housing and Sustainable Development
Sustainable development has economic, social and environmental aspects. It is often, and
mistakenly, taken to mean only the latter. The Welsh Housing Quality Standard is significant in the
context of environmental sustainability of “social” housing22.
The Strategy refers to small-scale projects „more explicitly linked to the housing objective of
“providing affordable and secure housing that is well maintained and contributes to social inclusion,
good health and environmental sustainability‟ involving the West Wales Eco Centre, the local
authority‟s work related to the the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA), the Ceredigion and Dyfi
Solar Clubs and the Greener Building Directory (AECB).
The Ceredigion Affordable Warmth Action Plan will integrate aspects of fuel poverty and affordable
warmth with all the Council‟s housing- and accommodation-related policies, strategies and sub-
The Ceredigion Housing Strategy and AACLT
The current draft Housing Strategy makes specific and positive reference to Aberystwyth Area
Community Land Trust. In particular:
• the Council has agreed to make available a small parcel of its landholdings for a tenure
neutral development (involving no Social Housing Grant)
• the holding would be on one of its “grazing sites”
• it would form part of a larger development in partnership with a housing association
• prospective owners will register an interest in the proposed development via the Council‟s
Affordable Housing Register.
Now that stock transfer has taken place, and with it the transfer of sites allocated to housing, the
availability of land for a CLT development will need to be discussed further with Tai Ceredigion.
The Housing Strategy as a whole contains a number of elements relevant to the objectives of
AACLT. It is important to bear in mind the explicit linkage with the 2020 Community Strategy
themes, which are worth repeating: Health, Social Care and Well-being, Economic Success, a High
Quality Environment, Lifelong Learning and Stronger Communities. The reason for this is that the
rationale for support of a CLT by the local authority should be more than merely adding to the
policy silo of the number of units of “affordable” housing, because housing provision is linked by
CLTs to a broader well-being agenda. There is a policy linkage of social, economic and
environmental elements; CLTs offer a vehicle for delivery of that linkage in practice.
Ceredigion section 106 Agreement
Ceredigion has a standard Section 106 Agreement23. This sets out the Council‟s usual
requirements when it grants planning permission subject to provision for affordable housing. It is
see the Glossary for a definition
therefore an important document as it will form a starting point for future discussions between
AACLT with the Council about the release of land and/or planning permission.
The terms for disposal of a property by a resident (this assumes that the CLT development is
based on some form of purchase by residents) are stipulated by the Section 106 Agreement as
the sale price must not exceed 70% of open market value at the time of disposal
the sale must be to a „qualifying person‟
the owner must occupy the property as their principal place of residence at all times.
There is a specific procedure for determining the open market value.
In summary24, a „qualifying person‟ is someone who meets the means condition. They must be
unable to afford the purchase without a mortgage and the amount a reputable building society or
bank would be prepared to lend them would not exceed 110% of the purchase price. A qualifying
person must also be a „key worker‟, or someone who needs to reside in Ceredigion in order to care
for a close relative who is resident in Ceredigion, or they must have resided in Ceredigion for 10
out of the last 20 years.
If contracts for sale have not been exchanged within 18 weeks from the date the property a
completion certificate is issued when the property is first built, or it is put on the market on an
onward sale, it can be sold to someone who is not a qualifying person (so, not a key worker or
carer), provided that they satisfy the means condition and have lived in Ceredigion, Powys,
Gwynedd, Carmarthenshire or Pembrokeshire for a total of five of the previous 20 years. If another
18 weeks elapses, the residence condition is broadened again, this time to the whole of Wales; if
yet another 18 weeks pass, the residence condition is dropped altogether, leaving only the means
The Agreement also contains provisions for the sale of affordable housing to a Registered Social
The conditions governing onward sale do not apply to a lender which has repossessed the
property. The bank or building society is therefore free to put the property up for sale on the open
market and sell it to the first willing buyer.
Potential problems for AACLT in the standard section 106 Agreement, which would require
thought, would include:
• the rigidity of the stipulation that onward sale must be at 70% of open market value
• the complexity of the terms governing eligibility for the housing
• enforceability in the longer term of these conditions.
The means test also appears to present potential difficulties as the restriction on the future sale
price and the criterion applicable to mortgage eligibility have not been aligned. Thus, potential
this is just a summary – there are various qualifications and explanations in the Agreement itself, so it is necessary
to refer to the document for the detail of these terms.
purchasers unable to purchase an equivalent property on the open market, yet with sufficient
means to enable them to obtain a mortgage for more than 110% of the maximum sale price, would
The CLT, however, could potentially take a positive role in providing a more flexible means of
delivering the community benefits that the section 106 Agreement aims to secure. A “right of pre-
emption” for the CLT in an onward sale, including by a mortgagee taking possession would be one
such device. Democratic control by the local community through robust governance structures
adopted by the CLT could also support a mechanism for delivery of the requisite outcomes. Close
co-operation and collaboration with the local authority would be essential to ensure the right result
in this context.
6. Housing needs in the Aberystwyth Area
All the signs are that, on the supply-side, there are serious structural problems in housing provision
overall. It is more difficult to assess and quantify housing need. It cannot be assumed that people
who are in housing are adequately housed, or even affordably housed. Homelessness may be
disguised by children remaining at with their parents longer than they, or their parents would wish,
or be informal and unsatisfactory arrangements with friends or relatives. People may not present
to the local authority or housing associations for housing if they do not believe it is available to
The waiting list
The “waiting list” of applicants for housing cannot, be seen as a reliable or straightforward reflection
of housing need; people present for inclusion on the list for a myriad of reasons and, at the same
time, absence from the list does not necessarily mean the absence of housing need. Figures
provided by the Council show that, as at 9 September 2009, 1032 people had requested housing
from the Council in the course of the calendar year. Of that number, 143 were facing
homelessness; 92 were living with friends; 33 were living in a caravan; the remainder were housed
in other council properties or by housing associations or other institutions. 372 were categorised
as single, 87 as a “couple”, 96 as “older single”, and 60 as “older couple”. The remainder were
families or in their first pregnancy, and seven were “joint applicants”. What is apparent is that the
rate of increase in housing supply is outstripped by these figures alone, irrespective of wider
demand among those not on the register.
Supplementary Housing Register
This has been established by the Council to facilitate contact between eligible potential purchasers
and developers, including housing associations, in relation to developments including a proportion
of affordable homes. Essentially, this new register seeks ways of identifying people who cannot
afford to buy on the open market, yet who are not in priority need and are therefore unlikely to
qualify for “social housing”; the intention is then to link those on the Register with developers of
affordable housing. The Register applies to Ceredigion as a whole, not just Aberystwyth.
Sign-up to the Register (16 households) does not reflect the statistical information bearing on
housing need; this may be because very limited resources have been available for promoting its
existence. Many people who are eligible may not be aware of it; those who are aware of it may
also be sceptical as to whether it relates to actual housing supply suitable for their needs. The
Felinfach development (see section 4 above) did not appear to attract significant interest. No
information was available as to why this was so.
The criteria for inclusion in the Supplementary Housing Register are essentially based on
established residence in Ceredigion, status as “key worker” (broadly interpreted) or “carer”, or an
older person looking for sheltered or extra-care accommodation, and the ability to afford the price
of the “affordable home” concerned. The term “key worker” usually refers to those working in
essential services (such as teachers, medical staff, firefighters), but has been much more loosely
defined over time because of the recognition of the inter-dependency of roles (for example, nurses
cannot work without administrative or technical back-up). Ultimately, most people in skilled
employment are likely to fall into the key worker category in Ceredigion. Essentially these criteria
reflect those set out in the Section 106 Agreement, and those applied in the Felinfach scheme.
While the form refers to properties for rent and for sale, the casual reader is likely to conclude that
its main target is affordable housing for purchase. Policy is that there should be a seamless
transition from rent to purchase; popular perception, however, is likely to be that it relates to
purchase, not least because the guidance notes are entitled “A Guide to Affordable Home
Ownership”. Even the second document referred to, “Affordable Homes Ceredigion”, is referred to
as “the Council‟s advice on buying an affordable home”, even though it does also refer to rental
accommodation. The emphasis therefore appears to be on some form of purchase.
As far as the financial eligibility criteria for affordable home purchase are concerned, they are quite
narrow: ability to afford from income a mortgage to purchase the dwelling concerned, inability to
afford one costing 10% more.
From the perspective of those seeking housing, the range of criteria can appear daunting: income,
purchasing power, average house prices, employment status; there is also a distinction from
criteria for eligibility for Homebuy and for purchase of housing association property. Secure rental
schemes do not figure prominently. It is difficult for a prospective applicant to gauge initially
whether the Register is relevant to their needs, as at face value it tends to rule out rather than rule
Most of those who have registered appear to be young (in their 20s and 30s), employed in the
public sector; most were born and/or brought up in Ceredigion. Most had no children. A significant
number were living at home with their parents.
6.1 AACLT Housing Needs Survey
AACLT has conducted its own Housing Needs Survey in the Aberystwyth area. The survey form is
attached to this report as Appendix II.
The form was circulated in English and Welsh. It was distributed electronically to employees of the
local offices of the Welsh Assembly Government, Bronglais Hospital, the University, the National
Library, Coleg Ceredigion and local Unison members were circulated by post with a hard copy.
Contact was made with local Community and Town Councils and paper copies were also sent to
them. Some paper copies were also distributed locally.
Lack of resources made it possible to follow up distribution and actively to secure completion of the
forms. A total of 55 completed forms were returned.
Six responses came from outside Ceredigion; four of those were from Machynlleth, one from
Llanbrynmair. Within Ceredigion, there was one response from Lampeter; the remainder were
from the Aberystwyth Area.
Eight respondents indicated a long-term health problem; otherwise, very few responded positively
to questions relating to other disabilities. Two people referenced learning disabilities, none mental
health problems. 41% of respondents said that they rented their present home, 12% said that they
lived with family or friends, 41% stated that they owned their present home and 4% did not specify.
I want to move out from living with my parents but just cannot get a mortgage to do so.
Housing Needs Survey response
The chart below sets out the employment status of respondents.
How many household members are in part-time employment or self-employment
There was a certain and understandable reluctance among a number of respondents to disclose
levels of income and savings. The following table sets out the figures given for savings and
indicates generally low levels of savings.
Combined household savings
no answer £5k-£10k £15k-£20k £25k-£30k £35k-£40k £45k-£50k £55k-£60k £65k-£70k £75k-£80k >£85k
Income levels given are set out below:
Annual household income (percentage of respondents)
no <£5k £5k- £10k- £15k- £20k- £25k- £30k- £35k- £40k- £45k- £50k- £55k- £60k- £65k- £70k-
answer £10k £15k £20k £25k £30k £35 £40k £45k £50k £55k £60k £65k £70k £75k
The range of both income and savings disclosed by respondents is, therefore, very wide. By the
same token, the range of maximum affordable prices for the purchase of housing was
considerable, from £50,000 to £350,000.
The main issue with housing in Aberystwyth is that the price of buying a house is artificially inflated
by the predominance of buy to let landlords that are here because of the University. This also
means that rent is also very high, as there is not enough housing to go round. I would be
interested in someone coming up with a scheme that tackles this issue, as even though I have
managed to buy my own home, most of my colleagues here at the Assembly are unable to afford
to save up a deposit at the same time as paying £500-£600 per month rent or are faced with the
indignity of renting a shared house when they are in their 30s. The university is selling off all its
own Halls of residence and other student accommodation and not building any more, so the
situation is only getting worse.
Housing Needs Survey response
In terms of the cost of housing, the table below sets out current payment levels and what
respondents consider they could pay. Overall, and perhaps not surprisingly, it appears that people
would prefer to pay less. It has to be accepted that these figures cannot be taken as an objective
statement of affordability.
Amount paid at present in rent or mortgage interest (per month)
and amount respondents would be prepared to pay (per month)
Amount paid at present in rent or mortgage interest (per month)
35 Amount respondents would be prepared to pay (per month)
<£100 £100- £200- £300- £400- £500- £600- £700- £800- £900- £1000- £1100- £1200- £1300- >£1400 no
£200 £300 £400 £500 £600 £700 £800 £900 £1000 £1100 £1200 £1300 £1400 answer
Comments on homeownership
Thirteen respondents said that they wanted rented accommodation; nine expressed an interest in
shared ownership. Only five respondents were interested in a flat; the remainder wanted a house
or bungalow, if they had a preference at all.
I've been involved in trying to set up similar schemes before. I am a specialist in eco-housing. My
partner is a community gardener. The solution must be socially inclusive, including Welsh.
Housing Needs Survey response
In terms of priorities, 10 respondents said that their first priority was somewhere permanent to live.
Only five gave owning their own home as their first priority, although 26 expressed homeownership
as one of their priorities. Ten respondents stated that community life was important to them; 18
responded positively to the idea of eco-housing, and 43 said that they would be prepared to pay
extra for environmental features. Forty-four respondents expressed a willingness to participate in
decision-making and of those 39 said that they would see it as “positive”.
We definitely need sustainable housing that will be good for the planet and people. Sharing some
facilities is a good way of reducing costs and the burden on each person/family, so long as it is not
abused. Low cost eco-build would be good, but not low quality.
Housing Needs Survey response
Ten respondents said that they would see a CLT as a long-term solution; 14 said that they would
“see how it went”.
What is can be said for Aberystwyth and the surrounding area with some confidence is that:
• housing supply still does not meet demand, or indeed need, and need is likely to grow in
line with mortgage repossessions and evictions in the context of recession, as well as due
to demographic changes;
• the supply of new housing is insufficient to address the need identified;
• housing supply and housing suitability are not well-aligned;
• house prices have fallen, but not significantly (approximately 5%);
• both housing construction and housing market activity have fallen;
• lenders‟ criteria for new mortgages have become much more restrictive;
• if and when interest rates rise, affordability will decrease further and repossessions are
likely to rise;
• public sector (“social”) housing is scarce and largely restricted to vulnerable groups;
• lenders are currently responding to the crisis in the financial sector by more conservative
policies and a reluctance to consider innovative products, or products they consider
“risky”. Community projects are at risk of falling into that category, irrespective of their
• statistical information understates highly significant “well-being” factors in terms of housing
security of tenure, and the suitability and quality of the housing available;
• it is predictable that the impact of climate change policy and the need for adaptation will
further add to the complexity of housing quality issues, and these are already major
problems in Aberystwyth.
7. Potential Community Land Trust Sites
Contact has been made with local stakeholders including Ceredigion County Council (housing
department), Mid-Wales Housing Association, the Centre for Alternative Technology, the Forestry
Commission, Borth Community Council and Trefeurig Community Association. AACLT has
focused on identifying sites which would be the most suitable for the type of development it
envisages and which it would have a realistic prospect of successfully pursuing as a CLT
development. There is consensus that a first project should be relatively small and straightforward.
A letter was sent to the Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council, inquiring what land
potentially suitable for housing is likely to come onto the market. The reply confirms that sites
retained by the Council are currently being considered by Tai Ceredigion and other Registered
Social Landlords for the provision of affordable housing; in other words, any discussions relating to
potential sites must now be held with the RSLs.
Site visits have been held to consider the following:
The DEVA building, Aberystwyth
This is a large building on the bay promenade area in the centre of Aberystwyth. It was formerly
used by the local authority as residential accommodation for the elderly. It is still in local authority
ownership and is currently on the open market; it has now been sold subject to contract. The
asking price was £800,000, but no information was available as to the sale price negotiated. It
consists of a terrace of tall Victorian houses, with potential for conversion into about 15 – 20 flats.
Among its advantages are its potential contribution to the regeneration of that part of the city, its
potential high profile and popularity and its central location. However, there is considerable
complexity in refurbishing a property of that nature, cost could be prohibitive and AACLT has
reservations about its capacity for dealing with those issues in a first development.
The Old Craft Site, Aberystwyth
This consists of workshops around a courtyard, formerly outbuildings for an old hotel. It is in local
authority ownership. The local authority‟s Estates Department maintains that no decision has been
made as to its future use and it is not at present on the market.
It has the capacity to be an interesting and popular small development in the heart of Aberystwyth.
AACLT sees it as an excellent prospect, and it is a preferred option, for a first development.
The village school in Trefeurig closed officially in September 2007, the last classes having taken
place in July 2006; since closure, the village community has been keen to retain the building and to
develop it to benefit the village. Their objective is to use part of it as a community centre and the
remainder for other purposes which will, hopefully, cross-subsidise the project.
The site consists of a school house, the school itself, the former playground and a small amount of
additional land. The village is about seven miles from Aberystwyth and two miles from the village
of Penrhyncoch, where there is a shop and a petrol station. There is no public bus service to
Ceredigion County Council has now offered a long-term lease on the school building to the
community, with an option to purchase the building in due course. The offer is based on market
prices. The school house has been sold outright, again at market price, to a private individual as a
Unfortunately, the separate sale of the house has blocked access to land at the rear which could
have been used for development and/or parking. This has prevented development of part of the
land and school building for affordable housing, because the land at the front does not provide
adequate space for parking for a residential development. The community had been in discussion
with Mid-Wales Housing Association with a view to developing units of affordable housing within
the school curtilage, in addition to the community centre, but those discussions had to be
abandoned following sale of the school house, because of access and parking problems.
The community still hopes to identify partners with whom they could jointly develop the building, but
sale of the school house has created a serious obstacle to the project. They are now investigating
bunk-house accommodation, workspace or storage as alternative income generation sources, but
remain open to other proposals.
Rhydypennau, Bow Street
This site lies a short distance outside Aberystwyth on the main road north to Machynlleth.
Communications into the city are good. It lies adjacent to an existing social housing development.
Mid-Wales Housing Association already has properties in the locality and would be interested in
pursuing a joint scheme here. Discussions with local authority housing officers were encouraging
and the group was seriously interested in this site as an option.
Following stock transfer of Ceredigion County Council‟s housing stock to Tai Ceredigion Housing
Association, the Council no longer controls this site. If the group decides to pursue this site as a
potential CLT development, it will now have to initiate discussions with Tai Ceredigion.
Finally, a site visit was held to consider this site. It is an exposed site on the main road out of
Aberystwyth north to Machynlleth. It is an open site adjacent to an existing social housing
development, and the local authority expressed the view that it would welcome discussion of the
site as a potential CLT development. The group‟s first reaction was, however, that this site may
not be suitable because of its position. Like the Bow Street site above, it has now been transferred
to Tai Ceredigion as part of the stock transfer arrangements and any discussions about it will need
to be with Tai Ceredigion Housing Association.
The group has approached the Forestry Commission to discuss land availability for a CLT
development in the Aberystwyth area. The Forestry Commission is exploring the potential for CLT
projects on its land elsewhere, notably at Dinas Mawddwy and Ceinws in Gwynedd. The Forestry
Commission has drawn up Guidelines for the development of affordable rural housing and is open
to working with communities and Registered Social Landlords to develop appropriate schemes on
its land. The group intends to explore opportunities in the Aberystwyth area further, and the
Forestry Commission has invited it to identify a site or sites and initiate discussions on that basis.
Any sale of land will be based upon valuation by the District Valuer in the first instance, but the
Forestry Commission‟s policy is then to take into account factors such as future sale of the housing
at below market prices or use of the site to develop affordable housing for rent.
8. Developing a Community Land Trust – Process and Stages
The development of even a small CLT with six housing units in a village situation is a complex
process involving several stages of work. Developing a CLT for the Aberystwyth area is more
challenging at first glance, but this is not necessarily the case if the approach is taken one project
at a time. For most CLTs, a small project is the best place to start to gain the experience necessary
to develop a more ambitious undertaking. In any event, a new CLT will need to bring together key
partners and sub-contractors with specialist housing development experience. Those that need to
be involved at each stage will range from planners and architects to building contractors, finance
providers and those with housing management experience.
A new CLT group will rarely have access to the funding to pay for the services of this broad range
of expertise. To overcome this, CLTs seek to attract housing professionals to support the social
enterprise development work by becoming involved on the steering group and the CLT board of
directors once the company is formed. Thus in the USA for example, good practice is for a new
CLT to recruit at least one third of its directors from among those with technical skills to guide the
housing development work. Other expertise will need to be paid for and funding to resource this is
available from different sources.
Essentially there are four stages involved in both developing a CLT and to complete the first
affordable housing project. The stages below focus only on the housing aspect for a project. Some
developments will include other aspects such as workspace or community facilities. These would
require additional specialist help and guidance and this is beyond the scope of this report.
Stage 1: Pre-development work – The founding group has already put considerable effort into
defining aims and objectives and forming an unincorporated association, fundraising, working with
Land for People and enlisting its support, identifying potential sites and contracting consultants, as
well as publicising the role of the CLT in addressing the housing issues described above. This
report has been focused on building on this achievement and identifying the remaining questions
that need investigating before a CLT development on a particular site is pursued. These pre-
development aspects include:
Assessing the potential local market for a CLT and what affordable housing needs can
be met – a Housing needs analysis and researching other indicators are key here;
Considering what legal structure for a CLT is appropriate
Appraising the views of the local authority and other potential supporters
Considering potential sites and possible backers with land
Developing a strategy for taking the CLT from concept into action
Producing a report and launching the findings to secure local support from key
Stage 2: Development work – This includes all the work to set up the company, to secure the
first site for development, to obtain planning permission and to raise the finance for the project.
These tasks and the approximate sequence for pursing them include:
Bringing together a founding group to consider the legal form for the company
Securing guidance from Land for People on the company formation and model rules
Recruiting a number of Directors with professional skills and attracting support from
the local authority, Town Councils, Community Councils and others that can help
technically, such as the rural housing enabler and a local housing association
Identifying a site for the first development and negotiating a process for obtaining this
site via one or more of these methods: a Section 106 agreement, Rural Exception site
provisions, endowment from a philanthropist or low-cost purchase (eg. from a farmer,
the Forestry Commission, derelict village hall, etc)
Discussing potential sites with the Ceredigion planning officers and any possible
emerging opportunities arising
Selecting/attracting development partners (eg. architect, housing association and
Checking the suitability of different sites with Land for People assistance and through
board members with technical skills and then selecting a site
Appraising likely project costs for the preferred site including land, build-costs and
other costs such as for an architect, planning and building regulation fees, finance
fees, interest, guarantees, etc.
Assessing what can be afforded by prospective resident members from the Housing
Needs Survey and other local information – taking into consideration the options for
housing for sale and for rent
Preparing an indicative business plan for the site with help from Land for People and
based upon the calculated project costs and the housing affordability assessment
Appraising the viability of the site in relation to the project costs, the affordability test
and the feasible sources of project finance for the construction phase and also
through a longterm mortgage
If the scheme is not viable, considering ways to close the gap through say offsite
construction methods, grants that might be raised, access to social housing grant or
selling off some homes at higher prices to cross-subsidise others
Negotiating site purchase or acquisition with the landowner, conditional on grant of
Identifying sources of finance for acquiring the site and completing the development –
through grants, partnership with a social landlord, construction financing and
permanent financing from a bank or building society
Appointing an architect and/or other specialist partner to carry out feasibility work, site
survey, ensuring access to services and preparing scheme drawings
Submitting planning application and negotiating terms for any Section 106 agreement
Determining and developing the CLT housing allocation policy in consultation with
Producing publicity material and a prospectus for the CLT to raise donations and help
in cash and in kind
Agreeing on the tenure system for the development – which may be mixed including
some housing to rent and some to buy
Working out the leasehold system for housing for sale and agreeing a part-equity
option (eg. based upon possible options including restrictive resale covenant,
declaration of trust, equity mortgage, shared ownership lease, mutual
homeownership or rent to equity) and for rented homes developing an assured
Arranging mortgage finance and other gap funding (ie. for construction phase and for
permanent financing arrangements)
Completing purchase of the site
Stage 3: Construction Work
Choosing the procurement route for the project from options such as tendering,
design and build, an off the shelf using a housing association partner or partnering
with a local contractor
Appointing of the project manager
Drawing down the construction finance for the development
Tendering or negotiating the contract including final terms, payments and timescales
Awarding the contract
Undertaking the construction on site, managing the work and mitigating risks
Handing over of the completed housing units for occupancy
Stage 4: Project completion and establishing the operational work for the CLT
Appointing the managing agent or CLT manager
Leasing the properties to buy and letting the properties to rent
Developing plans for further sites
Raising funding to resource future CLT projects locally
AACLT is working in close partnership with Land for People. Separately Land for People, with
support from the Welsh Assembly, is working with Rural Housing Enablers to develop affordable
housing solutions. So a three-way partnership between AACLT, Land for People and the Rural
Housing Enabler would be a strong way to begin the process of Stage 2 development work.
Land for People has also secured some funding from Tudor Trust to support the development of
CLTs in the Dyfi Valley and Aberystwyth areas. So some resources are already in place for
pursuing Stage 2 tasks. Once a specific site can be identified, the Community Land Trust
Development Fund, which has been jointly funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Tudor Trust
is a key source of financial support for groups like AACLT. Support is available in three different
stages. These are:
(i) Feasibility Fund: this can provide up to one-day of consultancy to scope out
opportunities and develop a concept note.
(ii) Technical Assistance Fund: this can provide CLT groups with up to five
days of expert consultancy for business plans in relation to a specific site or
(iii) Facilitation Fund: this is a risk financing fund that enables CLT groups with
promising projects for specific sites to secure funding on a revolving loan basis
to cover the costs to employ architects for securing planning permission and if
necessary to hire other professionals to conduct site surveys. Loan repayment
is only required if the project secures planning permission and goes into
(iv) Development Finance: this is a key source of loan capital for the
development and construction phase of the work and can be used to provide
secondary sources of capital alongside other building society and bank
mortgage finance to pay for the construction and longer term debt financing of
the CLT project.
The consultancy support offered through the CLT Development Fund is provided
through former housing association chief officers working at Community Finance
Solutions (CFS) at the University of Salford. They also used other regionally based
consultants. CFS are also currently developing a series of training courses to be
launched in 2010 for CLT groups but unfortunately this training is presently restricted
to groups in England because of the source of the funding. They additional run
periodic meetings of rural CLT groups in Wales and England and involvement in these
events for AACLT members would be most helpful.
To provide the loan financing, the CLT Development Fund works closely with
Venturesome, a development finance affiliate of Charity Bank.
The CLT Development Fund has been structured to enable most CLT groups to
access the key resources they require to develop a successful CLT project. Other
sources of funding may be secured regionally or through the Welsh Assembly. These
may include: voluntary sector development assistance through WCVA and/or CAVO
and possibly for social enterprise development through the Wales Co-operative
Centre, the Social Enterprise Coaltion Cymru and the new Social Enterprise Support
Project launched in February 2009 with the Welsh Assembly.
9. Main Findings and next steps: options and recommendations
Summary of key findings
It is generally accepted that, there is a severe lack of housing in Ceredigion generally and in
Aberystwyth in particular, apart from in the „executive home‟ category. Aberystwyth is
characterised by its special social and economic characteristics, which result in pressure in
particular on the private rental sector, in terms of quantity, its nature and its quality. The housing
predicament of people who are in work, but who do not have high incomes and who do not fall into
a priority need category (for example, they have no children or disabilities), is acute. This group
forms the intermediate housing market. This problem in turn bears heavily on the ability of the
town to function and develop economically. It is socially divisive. Moreover, the quality of much of
the housing is such that it falls far short of the minimum standards set by the Welsh Housing
Quality Standard, let alone the more difficult challenges of climate change.
The County Council, in its housing strategy and implementation, has been very supportive of
AACLT in its efforts to contribute to addressing the needs of this intermediate group. It has written
co-operation with AACLT into its Housing Strategy.
The Council developed its own approach at Felinfach. That scheme offered a simple approach to
“affordable homeownership” by developing a group of houses which are never to be sold at more
than a given percentage of their value in the open market (likely to be about 75%). The Council
intended to contribute the land; otherwise, the scheme had the not inconsiderable virtue of being
What this scheme and existing policy lack is flexibility. The aim of securing community benefits in
the future is essentially addressed through the eligibility criteria, which are restrictive and complex.
The simplicity of the device for maintaining future affordability is undermined by potential problems
of enforceability in the future, and by the complexity of those criteria, in the eyes of prospective
applicants at least.
At one level, the decision to purchase is likely to be based on a TINA (There Is No Alternative)
assessment, because it is the only available option for good quality, secure housing. On the other
hand, if choice is to have any role, the imponderables of an evaluation of what that eligibility means
now and its likely impact on future marketability of the property, together with the financial
implications of purchase of a house with a fixed percentage value in a volatile and unpredictable
housing market, are formidable. In this context, there is a very significant risk for potential
purchasers which it is almost impossible for them to evaluate.
Moreover, the use of a fixed percentage price formula in perpetuity does not lend itself to
adaptation as circumstances change over time. It operates effectively to freeze the land asset, and
restrict its use to a group narrowly defined by their economic activity, financial resources and
residency. Only if those criteria render the housing impossible to sell within a specified period will
they fall away. They cannot be modified. And the community has no active role in any of this.
The local authority has limited resources and competing priorities. It is unlikely that housing supply
will come close to meeting demand in the foreseeable future. As a scarce resource, it is allocated
through the tried and tested means of waiting lists and more recent mechanisms such as
Homebuy. While it is now explicitly accepted that purchase is not the only outcome sufficient to
meet aspirations, the focus remains on forms of purchase, or pathways to purchase, for the
intermediate market. In its processes and in the options it offers, it does not, however, empower
individuals or engage communities, nor does it generate or release social capital.
The challenge for AACLT is to offer a credible approach which speaks to the range of policies that
government itself has set out. If sustainability means the development of housing that is socially,
economically and environmentally sound, in line with the “themes” of the community strategy, and
indeed the objectives of the other policy documents, the task is to persuade the relevant authorities
that a CLT is a means of delivering those objectives in a cost-effective and “joined up” way. In
order to achieve this, the first necessity is development of a strong, community base with a defined
set of objectives, duly prioritised and a clear mission. It will then face the daunting task of
persuading the public authorities to think outside established silos, and to release the land and
funding that will enable CLT developments to proceed.
Progress has been made in other regions of the UK. Good practice developed in schemes such as
the Cornwall Community Land Trust, which started out with a restrictive covenant approach similar
to that proposed at Felinfach and which has now evolved into a robust rural CLT model supported
by the local authority and going from strength to strength. The learning from the Cornish CLT
development is helpful for both AACLT and public sector housing providers in Ceredigion, as it has
gone through a flexible and dynamic evolution and demonstrates the value of collaboration
between community and public authority in a close working partnership.
Recommendations for Community Land Trust Development
1. We would recommend that there be a public meeting at the first opportunity to consider the
contents of this report and bring together the people who are sufficiently interested and
motivated to form an interim board to take forward the work done so far by the existing
committee, and whose first task will be to decide on the short- and longer-term objectives
of the organisation and the appropriate formal company structure for pursuing those
2. In forming a company and a board of directors, we would recommend that careful
consideration be given to its constitution, so that the requisite technical skills are available
and that the community is properly represented. A formula which has proven effective for
CLTs in the US is a tripartite composition: one-third residents, one-third professionals
(such as accountants, architects, lawyers, developers, local authority officers or estate
agents) and one-third people generally active in the community. In all cases, a strong
board of directors committed to the values and objectives of the CLT is critical.
3. In addressing logistical and technical decisions, the organisation should continue to work
closely with Land for People. It should also ensure that the housing department at
Ceredigion County Council is kept informed of its progress and of all significant
developments, and that close and effective channels of communication are maintained.
4. Once the organisation has constituted itself and established a framework for regular
meetings and decision-making, we would suggest that contact be made with potential
providers of land, such as the Forestry Commission, the University and the local authority,
but also with Tai Ceredigion, in order to establish what relationship is likely to be
productive, and whether and what sites might be made available.
5. Identifying an appropriate site for the first CLT will be much easier if those with land can be
attracted to support the company‟s affordable housing mission from the outset. Key
sponsors could be Ceredigion County Council and Tai Ceredigion. Rural exception site
opportunities will arise periodically if the CLT group works closely with the Rural Housing
Enabler and keeps in close contact with the Community Council network.
6. Securing an urban site in Aberystwyth will not be easy as the existing sites that have been
considered are expensive. The Council is well aware of the continuing and worsening key
7. Land for People should work with AACLT to identify the first CLT site and also lend
assistance to the group to secure appraisal funding from the Community Land Trust Fund
so that Stage 2 CLT development work can commence in 2010 after the CLT company is
formed and is operational with a strong board of directors.
8. In pursuing its dual objective of developing a county-wide organisation supporting CLT
development and of proceeding with a housing development in its own right, AACLT may
wish to consider using the Mutual Homeownership model as a mechanism for
systematically furthering both objectives. Mutual Homeownership is a unique co-operative
model for developing larger CLTs, ideally of 50 housing units or more. Once the
necessary scale has been achieved by a single development in a town environment, it is
quite possible to “bolt on” smaller developments in surrounding villages. A Ceredigion-
wide Mutual Homeownership Society has the advantage of being self-sustaining and
capable of financing further developments itself in due course without recourse to the
public purse. This approach is, of course, much more ambitious and would require the
support of a range of committed stakeholders. It does, however, sit well with the ambitions
of AACLT and they may wish to work with Land for People and review with Ceredigion and
the Welsh Assembly the scope for piloting this model on a suitable site in the town.
Commonhold A new form of tenure for blocks of flats and other multi-unit properties,
under which occupiers would own their own units individually and, through
an association, own and manage the common parts collectively (Welsh
Assembly Government, Housing Strategy)
Homebuy The Homebuy scheme is operated by RSLs. It assists people who are
unable to meet their housing needs in the market to purchase a suitable
property with the aid of an interest free equity loan that is repayable when
the property is sold. The equity loan is currently fixed at 30 per cent of the
value of the property (now 50 per cent in rural areas). Funding for
Homebuy may be made available to RSLs where the local authority
identifies this as a priority for the use of Social Housing Grant….We (the
Welsh Assembly Government) have introduced a new 50 per cent equity
threshold for the 'Homebuy' scheme in rural areas. (Welsh Assembly
Government, Housing Strategy)
Homefinder The 'Homefinder' scheme is similar to the Homebuy scheme, but is
operated by local authorities. It also has to compete with other local
authority spending priorities. (Welsh Assembly Government, Housing
Housing Association Housing associations are non-profit organisations which build, regenerate
and manage social housing. They aim to house people on low incomes
and those who are homeless or living in poor conditions, o r are otherwise
in housing need. Many housing associations rent most of their housing to
families and people nominated by local authorities; most will therefore not
accept applications direct from single homeless people. Some also
manage hostels and housing projects and lease buildings to voluntary
organisations providing accommodation, care and support to homeless
people and other groups.
Leasehold Under certain circumstances, leaseholders of a house or flat have the
Enfranchisement right to purchase an extension to the existing lease or to purchase the
freehold from the existing freeholder. Leaseholders of flats can exercise
the right to enfranchise by purchasing the freehold collectively. The right
was introduced by the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and originally applied
to houses only. It was then extended to leaseholders of flats by the
Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, and then
further extended under the the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act
Category 1 Hazard There are a number of categories of hazard under the Housing Health
and Safety Rating System operating guidance, which is used to evaluate
compliance with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. This category
covers threats to health, including mental health and social well-being,
resulting from the structural condition of the property.
Pre-Emption This gives a “right of first refusal” when a property is put on the market for
Registered Social A Housing Association which is registered with the National Assembly of
Right To Acquire The Right to Acquire gives qualifying tenants of Registered Social
Landlords a right to purchase their home, if the property was provided
using Social Housing Grant or transferred from a local authority on or after
1 April 1997. Qualifying tenants are entitled to a discount of 25 per cent of
the value of the property, up to a maximum of £16,000.
(Welsh Assembly Government, Housing Strategy)
Right To Buy The Right to Buy has contributed to a significant increase in the proportion
of home owners since its introduction 20 years ago. However, the scheme
has resulted in many of the more desirable properties being removed from
the social rented sector, with authorities being left with a smaller stock of
poorer quality homes to rent to people needing their assistance. It has
also led to many people facing difficulties in maintaining their
homes…Restricted access to the Right to Buy… is not a devolved matter
and would require changes to primary legislation effecting both England
and Wales. (Welsh Assembly Government, Housing Strategy)
Section 106 A Section 106 Agreement is a type of Planning Obligation authorised by
Agreement Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. A planning
obligation is a legal agreement between the planning authority and the
applicant/developer and any others who may have an interest in the land.
It either requires the developer to do something or restricts what can be
done with land following the grant of planning permission. Planning
obligations tend to apply to major development schemes. They should
represent a benefit for the land and/or the locality; they are registered as
Local Land Charges and are normally enforceable against the people
entering into the obligation and any subsequent owner of the site.
Shared Ownership The 'Shared Ownership' scheme is operated by RSLs. It allows people to
own a minimum share of 40 per cent of the value of their property and to
pay rent on the portion that remains in the ownership of the landlord. The
combined outgoings on mortgage repayments and rent on a 40 per cent
share are similar, in most cases, to the mortgage repayments on 70 per
cent of the value of an equivalent property under the Homebuy scheme.
Consequently, 'Shared Ownership' is now rarely used. (Welsh Assembly
Government, Housing Strategy)
Social Housing Housing provided, usually through local authorities or Registered Social
Landlords, for people on low incomes or state benefits
Social Housing Grants paid to Housing Associations by the Housing Corporation for
Grant provision of social or intermediate market housing
Stock Transfer The process of transfer of housing stock formerly owned by local
authorities, usually to one of more Registered Social Landlords.
Welsh Housing Local authorities and Registered Social Landlords are required to bring
Quality Standard their housing up to this standard by 2012; it is also known as a “decent
Housing Needs Survey
Off-site construction: indicative costings
Mutual Home Ownership: Indicative costings
Monthly Costs (£) and Equity Shares for Two Income Household
Total Net Household 14,406 16,688 18,845 23,108 26,318 32,738
35% of net household 5,077 5,841 6,596 8,088 9,211 11,548
income for housing costs
Less revenue costs
payable for all members
(i) Management 33 33 33 33 33 33
(ii) Maintenance 53 53 53 53 53 53
(iii) Service costs 18 18 18 18 18 18
Net monthly payment for 319 382 445 570 663 850
corporate mortgage loan
Capital value of 64,336 77,190 89,892 114,997 133,900 171,707
corporate loan serviced
Number of equity shares 64 77 90 115 134 172
funded by monthly
Add equity shares paid 7 9 10 13 15 19
as with 5% deposit
Total equity shares 71 86 100 128 149 191
Monthly cost of each 4.95 4.95 4.95 4.95 4.95 4.95
additional equity share
The value of MHO member shares will increase over time. The preferred resale formula is to link
their value to say an annual earnings increase of say 4.5%, based on say a Retail Price Index of
3.5% and real earnings growth of 1% yearly. On this basis, after ten years, the net equity share
value for the respective level of equity owned by each of the households in the above table would
71 shares = £13,314
86 shares = £16,271
100 shares = £18,919
128 shares = £24,217
149 shares = £28,190
191 shares = £36,136
Mutual Home Ownership as a co-operative model to develop CLT housing has a number of
significant advantages that suit large projects in cities. The Burlington model and other US CLT
practice has worked well for smaller developments in rural towns. This good practice has been
adapted to rural circumstances in Britain. The major challenge though for the future are large urban
applications. Mutual Home Ownership has the potential to fulfil this function. A major challenge is
to secure a) access to land in cities and b) access to long-term finance as has been achieved in
the past for Letchworth Garden City and for decades by the Swedish Tenant Ownership Co-
In summary, Mutual Home Ownership is affordable because:
„rental‟ charges are geared to 35% of net household income
members can own a property asset, through owning equity shares, at lower household
members can buy more shares as their incomes rise
transaction costs are reduced – properties are not bought and sold – equity shares are
over the longer term, borrowing costs should be cheaper as longer term financing is
secured from pension funds
the linkage – to average earnings – helps reduce risk and retains affordability
Mutual Home Ownership is sustainable because:
the housing remains permanently affordable for the benefit of the local community
the benefits are recycled from one generation of occupants to the next
it is easier to finance environmentally sustainable housing
there is an inbuilt incentive to maintain the property
the system encourages active citizenship and community engagement on two levels –
within the Community Land Trust and with the MHOS co-operative.