Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts are non-profit organisations run by volunteers. Anyone living in the defined Community Land Trusts, who supports the aims and objectives of the Trust, can pay £1 to become a member.

A Community Land Trust strives to meet the long-term needs of its local community by taking ownership of existing assets, or developing new ones. This could include things like acquiring land to steward or to use for developing genuinely affordable homes to meet local housing need. It could also involve taking ownership of, and running local hubs, workspaces, pubs, shops, leisure facilities or any other services important to their community. Any land or property held by the Community Land Trusts remains under their ownership forever and any extra money that a Community Land Trust earns or raises from these assets is directly reinvested back into the community.

Community Land Trusts are defined by statute in Section 79 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 which states that:

  • A Community Land Trust must be established as a not-for-profit organisation with a membership that is open to all who live and work in a community. The members must also own and control the organisation
  • A Community Land Trust must be established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental interests of a local community
  • The land and property assets of a Community Land Trust must be used to provide a benefit to a local community and must be protected in the long-term by a legal asset-lock

Supporting Community Land Trusts

ECDC Planning Policy

Giving communities a greater say and control of their local area is a central theme of Government policy.

East Cambridgeshire District Council supports community-led development and has a special planning policy, Growth 6: Community-led Development (PDF), that encourages this.

The planning policy lets communities bring forward sites in areas close to village or town boundaries which might be outside the normal development envelope. The community decides itself what is appropriate and will be supported by evidence of community engagement and feedback. These sites could include affordable housing, workspaces, community buildings and other amenities. The project could also include some ‘market housing’ for sale to help pay for the community development if it would otherwise not go ahead.

Advice and support: Community Led Development Advisor

East Cambridgeshire District Council employs an in-house community advisor who is available to give free advice to communities thinking of setting up their own Community Land Trusts and to provide ongoing support through all stages of the Community Land Trusts journey; from initial group development through to the planning and build stages and guidance through the live stage.


The Council also provide support to anyone thinking of setting up a Community-led Development Group with grants of up to £5,000 available to help with early group stage costs, such as the fee for legal incorporation. If you are an early-stage group, interested in this grant then please read the ECDC Community-led Development Set-up Grant Eligibility (PDF) information and Community-led Development Set-up Grant Application Form (PDF).

For more established groups, the Council also has a pre-development grant that can support groups with pre-development costs. For details on how to apply please read the ECDC CLT Pre-development Grant Eligibility information (PDF) and CLT Pre-development Grant Application Form (PDF).

If you are interested in applying for any of the above please contact the Community Led Development Advisor for more information. 

More information about Community Land Trusts 

Local examples of Community Land Trusts in East Cambridgeshire