The CLT Network
What is a Community Land Trust?
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage affordable homes and other community assets. They act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on local earnings, not just now but for the foreseeable future. The criteria are defined by statute in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.
CLTs must be set up to benefit a defined community—in our case Bradwell.
They must not be for private profit. They are expected to make a surplus as a community business, but this surplus must be used to benefit the community.
Local people living and working in the community have the right to become members, and the membership controls the CLT. This is usually through the election of a management board.
Bradwell CLT was founded specifically to address local affordable housing needs by taking ownership, on behalf of the village, of the affordable rental properties in the Bradwell Springs development and has gone on to be involved in other affordable housing projects. However, the role of a CLT isn’t confined to housing. Other activities undertaken by CLTs have included land for local food production, from allotments to community-owned farms; community shops and pubs; and local workspaces.
Community Land Trusts were first developed in the USA, inspired by the Civil Rights movement. They took off in the USA in the 1990s, and the largest American CLT owns over 2000 houses. The movement sprang up in the UK in the 2000s, and in 2010 the National CLT Network was established to support Community Land Trusts. There are now over 300 CLTs in England and Wales, with over 17,000 members. More than 900 CLT homes have been built to date, and there are over 16,000 community-led homes in the pipeline.
Rural Community Land Trusts are perhaps the “classic case” for CLT development – village communities and market towns taking the initiative to develop new homes and services for their area. Responding to a loss of services or high house prices, or seeking a more sustainable outlook for their community, under pressure from second homes and holiday lets, these CLTs demonstrate what can happen when communities take control of their own future.