More than 50 people attended the celebration of community land trust projects in West Dorset, which included visits to Symene, Lyme Regis and Marshwood developments.
West Dorset District Council has 10 active Community Land Trusts (CLT) — among the highest number in any council district in the country. CLTs are being progressed by communities with the support of councils to provide much-needed low-cost housing for local people.
The council’s new Opening Doors campaign — launched with North Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council — is encouraging more communities to start CLTs and take advantage of £2m of funding to support projects across their areas. Paul Derrien, Housing Enabling Team Leader for North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “CLTs are a valuable way of helping to meet significant local housing need.
“The networking day went extremely well with the opportunity for people to share knowledge, compare experiences and exchange ideas.”
There have been 62 affordable homes developed by CLTs in West Dorset. Symene and Marshwood are already fully occupied and 15 more homes will be available when the Timberhill development at Lyme Regis is completed. 10-home Symene CLT was formed for the people of Symondsbury on the edge of Bridport. Resident Rachel Millson commented: “The CLT is absolutely life changing because of its lifetime tenancy. For the first time we feel at home and really rooted.”
The Symene and Marshwood CLTs were developed with Hastoe Housing Association, which now manages the properties. Timberhill at Lyme is being developed in partnership with Yarlington Housing Group and CG Fry & Son.
Councillor Tim Yarker, Housing Briefholder for West Dorset District Council, said: “There are other communities who could benefit from this kind of development. We want to get the word out that it can be done, it’s not impossible.”
Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, Housing Portfolio Holder and Leader of North Dorset District Council, added: “We are committed to addressing housing needs and CLTs are important way to help deliver a good mix of quality homes.”
CLTs are predominately for housing but can also include other community assets. For example, Toller Porcorum has a post office as part of its scheme. There are CLTs in Symene, Toller Porcorum, Marshwood, and Buckland Newton, with others active in Powerstock, Bridport, Dorchester, Bishop’s Caundle, Broadwindsor, Lyme and Upper Frome Valley.
Talks are ongoing for others in Weymouth and Portland and opportunities are being explored in North Dorset. Opening Doors aims to encourage greater construction of a mix of quality homes of all tenures with a target of 20,000 properties by 2033.