Community Land Trusts

Urban Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are democratically run organisations set up to develop and manage land and assets in the interests of their members. They tend to be set up to solve a local problem, such as unaffordable housing, or derelict and unproductive land. CLTs are driven by concerned members of communities who wish to take economic development into their own hands. Whilst they tend to be vehicles for the long-term stewarding of affordable housing, they can also develop other assets important to the community, such as community-run pubs, food growing or workspaces.

Currently, there are 263 legally incorporated CLTs in England and Wales, with over 300 new groups in development. The movement currently involves 17,000 members and has 17,000 units of housing completed or in the pipeline for development.

Case study – Oxford CLT

Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK. To combat this, Oxford CLT are currently developing six affordable, co-operative and environmentally sustainable homes for rent at Deans Court, built to Passivhaus standards.  Oxford CLT have also set their sights on two more locations in the city: the Irving Building, where they hope to redevelop a former school into 26 zero carbon affordable homes; and Wolvercote Paper Mill, an ambitious bid to buy land from The University of Oxford for a 260-home eco-village.

Case Study – Granby Four Streets, Liverpool

In a deprived area of Liverpool, the Granby Residents Association opposed plans to demolish their Victorian terraced housing under the Housing Market Renewal Initiative and began a long journey towards community-led regeneration.

After years of campaigning, the Granby Four Streets CLT acquired the freehold of 10 properties from Liverpool City Council and began developing community-led housing. The CLT has now redeveloped those units and has plans to refurbish nearby derelict shops, an arts and retail hub and a community café. The designers of the home renovation scheme won the Turner Prize in 2015, winning praise for their “ground-up approach to regeneration, city planning and developing in opposition to corporate gentrification” .

Rural Community Land Trusts

Rural communities across the UK are suffering from a long-term lack of investment in services, transport, and digital infrastructure, alongside a significant shortage of affordable housing. This has resulted in increasing numbers of people struggling with growing isolation and rural poverty and many being priced out of their communities altogether.

Rural CLTs have frequently been used by village communities and market towns to respond to the challenges they face, developing their own affordable housing and retaining services for the benefit of the area. They allow the community to take the initiative in developing homes and services which meet their needs, with many using the opportunity to realise a more sustainable vision of the future.

Case Study – Glendale Gateway Trust

The Glendale Gateway Trust was established in 1996 with the ambition to support one of the most sparsely populated places in England. Since that time, the Trust has bought and now manages property worth £2.5m. It tailors the use of their assets to support budding businesses, generate income for the area, and provide affordable housing. They now own a community resource centre, a number of commercial units, 18 affordable homes and Wooler Youth Hostel and Shepherds Huts.

The Trust are taking new approaches to meet the needs of the area, such as by providing affordable ‘Pods’ for business start-ups to test their ideas, and continually use their roots in the community to develop innovative ideas for unused commercial spaces.