Mayor James Palmer believes land trust loan offers solution to providing Cambridgeshire with affordable homes

PUBLISHED: 16:15 30 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:15 30 March 2018

Impression of Haddenham Community Land Trust (HCLT) for 54-home West End development

Impression of Haddenham Community Land Trust (HCLT) for 54-home West End development

Archant

Mayor James Palmer believes the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s agreement of a £6.5 million loan to deliver 54 homes at Haddenham is a winning formula.

Haddneham Community Land Trust - successful in their application for new homes at West End, Haddenham; a petition to prevent it was less than successful.Haddneham Community Land Trust - successful in their application for new homes at West End, Haddenham; a petition to prevent it was less than successful.

The combined authority board approved the commercial loan to the East Cambs Trading Company (ECTC) – a stand alone wholly owned company owned by East Cambridgeshire District Council – to bankroll the development at West End Gardens within which 19 affordable homes, owned by a Community Land Trust (CLT), will be delivered.

Mayor Palmer said the scheme “will give a much needed fresh approach into how affordable homes are delivered, with those properties made affordable in perpetuity and given to people who live and work in the area”.

The board also approved the preparation of a business case for a £40 million loan to the ECTC to deliver on a 10-year plan to build a further 1,850 homes to 2028. Of these 553 will be affordable land trust homes.

Mayor Palmer believes this repayable loan would see CLT schemes could be template for the rest of the county and perhaps the country.

His spokesman explained that “this £40 million loan would come from the combined authority’s new borrowing powers, and so would not impact on the existing £100 million fund for affordable homes”.

The spokesman said: “Because the loan is repayable, there’s no direct cost to the tax payer, and that money, once repaid, can then be reused again by the combined authority to support other Community Land Trusts or affordable housing schemes.”

Mayor Palmer said: “Let’s be honest, central governments over the years have tried many ways to deliver affordable homes, but the results on the ground speak for themselves.

He said: “The development at Haddenham will offer much needed housing for a group of people who feel left behind – those who do not qualify for traditional social housing schemes, and are not earning enough to afford market homes.

“Trustees of the CLT will be able to set eligibility criteria that favour people who live and work locally, and offer them homes with rates of rent that are lower than traditional affordable schemes, which in many cases are just 80 per cent of full market rent.

“The Haddenham scheme has great support from the local community and these homes can be a stepping stone for those hardworking people aspiring for better.”

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