What is a Community Land Trust (CLT)?
Decent, secure and affordable homes are getting harder and harder to come by in London. Increasing pressure on local authority provisions and ever-increasing house prices mean people are having to choose between living in terrible conditions or leaving their friends, family and community for good.
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are non-profit organisations that come in many different shapes and sizes but are all set up and run by local people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets important to that community.
London CLT in particular focuses on working with communities to create permanently affordable homes and transform neighbourhoods. It currently delivers genuinely and permanently affordable homes to buy at a price based on local incomes, offering up one model to address the growing gap in the housing market between people who qualify for a council property and people who can afford to buy their own home.
London CLT has been organising to deliver genuinely and permanently affordable homes that are owned and run by local people since 2007. We moved our first 23 families into St. Clement’s, London’s first Community Land Trust (CLT), in 2017 and are now allocating homes on our second site of 11 genuinely and permanently affordable homes in Lewisham.
Since 2007, we have campaigned alongside local London Citizens groups for more CLT homes in neighbourhoods across London, including Sydenham, Shadwell, Lambeth, Southwark, Ilford, Croydon and Ealing.
Over the last twelve years, we have learnt how to take effective political action to deliver CLT homes. London CLT grew out of the community organising efforts of London Citizens, who have been building the capacity of people to participate in public life since the early 1990s.
We continue to work hand-in-hand with organisers, community leaders and member organisations of London Citizens. Our shared approach is rooted in traditions of broad-based organising (including building relationships and developing local leaders), which remains central to all our strategies.
How much do London CLT Homes cost?
London CLT homes are priced according to local earnings, ensuring that people are no longer priced out of the neighbourhood they grew up in.
‘Local earnings’ are taken as the median income, using data published by the Office for National Statistics in November each year. This means that our homes are often 50% or less of the comparable market rate for the area.
London CLT homes are about providing people with a home, not just an asset. The contract signed upon moving in makes sure that all residents have to sell the home to the next household again at a price according to local earnings. This means the homes can be sold on again at a similarly affordable level every time a new family moves in.
Who gets a home?
London CLT develops an allocation policy for each site in discussions with local members and the local authority.
At our first site at St Clements in Tower Hamlets, the allocations criteria were sourced through a survey of members, subsequent local workshops and discussions with the council.
This resulted in the following criteria:
1. Finance – priced out of the housing market but able to afford a London CLT home.
2. Housing Need – require a property more suitable than their current accommodation.
3. Connection – have a minimum of five years’ connection to the borough.
4. Involvement – belong to and participate in the local community
5. Be supportive of the London CLT.
Why Scylla Road?
In 2015, people across Peckham and Nunhead came together to launch the 1,000 Voices Campaign. Powered by local institutions, the campaign asked the people of Peckham and Nunhead what challenges they faced in their daily lives.
Out of these conversations, the lack of affordable housing was one of the most frequently raised along with being in debt, obtaining a good job and making Kelly Avenue Park safe for children.
These issues then formed the agenda for a new community alliance – Peckham Citizens, part of Citizens UK – a group of faith organisations, schools and charities that decided to work together so that local people had the power to be part of decisions that affected our lives.
In November 2016, this new alliance was launched at the Peckham Citizens Founding Assembly with over 330 local people.
As part of this event, we also launched our campaign for community land trust homes. We had seen it done in east London at St Clement’s, and we wanted to deliver similarly affordable homes for local people in our neighbourhood.
Over the next few years, we negotiated with Southwark Council on where to have our CLT – even considering owning some of the homes as part of a wider Council development.
The campaign included deputations at Southwark Council’s offices, another large gathering in 2018 with then Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Mark Williams where he committed the council to finding us a site, and wide-ranging site visits across SE15.
Then, in 2020, further negotiations with Southwark Council led to a site being suggested – Scylla Road.
Now, we are focused on how to deliver genuinely and permanently affordable homes on this site which, with your help, we can be very proud of!