Interesting CLT development in London

21 April 2023

What is a CLT.

Community land trusts – or CLTs – are democratic, non profit organisations that own and develop land for the benefit of the community. They ensure that their homes are permanently and genuinely affordable. CLTs act as long-term stewards of land and the assets on it. They ensure that it is put to the benefit of the local community, not just for now but for every future occupier.

As well as housing CLTs have also set up and run a range of community businesses and enterprises.  These include Local or Community pubs, Community Centres, Community workspaces, studios and pop-up shops.

The State of the Community Land Trust Sector 2023 report, which was launched in Parliament on Thursday 23 March with Secretary of State, Michael Gove MP and Danny Kruger MP speaking, explains how the market opportunities can be delivered through a pattern book of replicable models. 

The Community Land Trust Network  is calling on housing associations, councils, developers and other landowners to work with them and partner with more CLTs. 

The report reports that there are 350 CLTs in England and Wales that have built or renovated  1,711 affordable homes and there are 5,413 more in the pipeline. CLTs also own over 100 other assets including green spaces, community centres and shops. 60% of CLT’s are based in AONB’s.

An example in London

Citizens House is a development 11 affordable homes in Lewisham which is the result of a campaign by local people to build Community Land Trust (CLT) homes on surplus council owned land. The flats are the first purpose-built community land trust homes to be completed in London.

The scheme provides ‘intermediate’ affordable housing to Londoners ‘priced-out’ of their communities because they cannot afford decent, open market housing, but are unable to access other forms of affordable housing. Homes were purchased at around a 60% discount to market rates, with the value calculated against the median income in the Borough. Homeowners must reapply the same formula when they sell – meaning prices rise with average incomes, rather than with the open market, securing affordability in perpetuity and keeping communities together. 

Residents selected Archio as architects because of their enthusiasm and commitment to the proposed scheme seeing the social value as well as the new homes.

The architects began the project by running a 3-day codesign workshop from a temporary office on site. This allowed them to begin designing in collaboration with local people and sent a strong message that their interests were central to the process.  Following design work and  community involvement the planning application was delivered to the mayor by a group of local people, later receiving 107 letters of support.

The 11 flats are composed into three blocks so they appear almost as a trio of townhouses, while pockets cut into the plan allow light into the homes from all sides. The external staircase leads to broad galleries – nearly twice the width required – creating additional sociable space outside people’s front doors, while windows bring light into the hallways, avoiding the dingy interior corridors common to most modern flats. These are subtle moves, but they make all the difference, creating a real sense of light and openness.

The project completed in January 2023

An article in The Guardian has fuller details of the scheme 

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