Constantine Cornwall

Community Land Trust Gathers Momentum

Over the last year the average price of a Cornish home has risen to £223,046 Р12.6 times greater than the average income of £17,633 (Western Morning News, 23/8/14). In Constantine and many other Cornish villages, homeownership is simply out of reach for working families Рeven as many suitable homes remain empty, on the market for months or years. Over the past few months the Constantine Community Land Trust (CLT) has been working on developing a solution to the local housing problem.

The primary objective of Constantine CLT is to develop good quality low-cost housing as a community resource. Land trusts are democratically managed, not-for-profit organisations that reinvest any surplus to maintain local assets in perpetuity. CLT housing stock will be rented or sold to local people, enabling them to remain within the community instead of having to move away to areas where housing is cheaper. Any such stock will be restricted so that upon sale or termination of tenancy it retains a ‘below open-market’ value and, in the first instance, is offered only to other members of the parish on a basis of local need. A secondary aspiration of the CLT is to develop other community facilities for the parish. These could take the form of occupational workspaces or recreational amenities.

A presentation was made to Constantine Parish Council on June 19th explaining the concept, and support in principal was granted. Constantine CLT has subsequently applied for and gained membership in the National CLT Network. Initial grant funding has been obtained in the form of three days of professional assistance from the regional body, Cornwall CLT, to aid in setting up relevant legal structures and developing the CLT administrative and operational focus.

Several meetings with County Council representatives have taken place and a local housing needs survey is in the process of being drafted. The housing needs survey is important; it will be used to identify specific areas of requirement, from numbers of bedrooms and disabled access to price ranges for affordable renting or ownership. Current residents should receive details through the post and the survey will also be accessible online, as well as to those with strong and recent links to the parish. Please look out for the survey and be sure to respond to it if you have an interest.

Potential sites for development have already been identified and others are being sought. If anyone wishes to volunteer a site or has any constructive recommendations as to where development might best take place, please feel free to contact a member of the Constantine CLT Steering Group. Our website is now up and running (constantinecommunitylandtrust.co.uk) and an open event will be held at the Tolmen Centre on September 27th for those who require more information, assistance with the survey, or who want to be involved. Contact: constantineclt@gmail.com.

CLT Steering Group: James Croftson, Chair (07581365778), Simon Allen, Louise Munn, Russ Johnston, Cassie Rafferty, Frances Dawson, Michelle Stone.