Lack of truly affordable housing a ‘real issue’ for our residents

Letter from: Jo Crockett, Brighton Road, Lancing

A Sussex housing development
A Sussex housing development

It’s well known that the lack of truly affordable housing is a real issue for people living and working in Adur.

What is not known is that a group of Adur residents with encouragement from Lancing Parish Council and the Sussex Community Housing Hub are in the process of setting up a Community Land Trust (CLT).

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The Adur Collective Community Land Trust (our working name) will build and renovate locally affordable and sustainable homes for sale or rent to people living and working in Adur.

CLTs are not for profit developers which are run democratically for and by the local community they operate in. They develop housing and act as long-term stewards ensuring their housing remains affordable based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.

Tethering the cost of houses to local income, rather than to the dysfunctional property market, will really help residents who are currently spending a disproportionately large slice of their earnings on rent, will never earn enough to save for a deposit or who are on the council house waiting list.

The first step has been to set up a steering committee and we are working towards being incorporated as a Community Benefit Society.

We will then need to build membership as it will be the membership that decides a lot of the details of how the CLT operates.

We will need to raise and borrow funds to buy land or properties.

The CLT will lobby other public authorities like the council to gift or sell land for community owned housing arguing the standard market valuations of land sales neglect the wider benefits of housing that is affordable for the local community in perpetuity. It is going to be hard but it can be done. It has been done elsewhere.

We’ve got to look at all possible housing solutions to help local people as everyone should have a decent affordable home to live in.