An innovative approach to help local communities develop homes has led to East Cambridgeshire District Council being praised in Parliament.
During Community and Local Government questions, the Housing Minister, Mark Prisk highlighted the way the local authority is using Community Land Trusts in one of his parliamentary answers:
“For example, East Cambridgeshire District Council - in their current local plan review - have developed a new planning policy to facilitate community-led development. The new policy will permit community-based organisations, including Community Land Trusts, to bring forward a mixed tenure development proposal on an exception site provided it meets key planning criteria. The Local Plan will be submitted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate in August 2013.”
The District Council has identified Community Land Trusts as one way of the best ways to meet the local needs for affordable and market housing.
For example, the Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust recently won a prestigious national award for the way it has given local people more say over how to develop land in ways that could benefit the whole community.
This has led to a soon to be submitted planning application for a scheme in Stretham which will include community assets such as a new doctor’s surgery, business units and open spaces as well as affordable homes that will be prioritised for local people from either village.
The District Council now aims to help deliver two new Community Land Trusts by the end of 2013 as part of its Corporate Priorities. This week members of the Development and Transport Committee will meet to approve a loan application from the Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust.
Cllr Charles Roberts, Deputy Leader at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Community Land Trusts are a great way of providing new homes to our residents while giving local people a far greater say how developments can benefit the whole community. The Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust is an excellent example of how this process can work as they involved over 250 people in the process to develop their plans.
“The challenge for us is to take forward this innovative approach in other areas of our district where people find it difficult to find a home. We have an ambitious target to deliver two new Community Land Trusts this year and by working with our partners we believe we can make a real difference to help our towns and villages across East Cambridgeshire become more sustainable in the future.”
For more information on Community Land Trusts please call 01353 665555 or visit www.eastcambs.gov.uk.