Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) wants to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it.
Brighton & Hove has huge housing need. House prices are out of most people’s reach, and so are rents for many. Housing development is largely in the hands of commercial developers, whose interests do not always match those of local people. Housing associations were set up to meet housing need but have become hampered by legislation that makes affordable housing harder to achieve. The City Council’s own housing development is squeezed between competing interests and austerity measures handed down by the Government.
Our vision is of a city better designed to meet local housing and community needs by engaging the communities themselves in their development. BHCLT is being set up to support community-led development and affordable housing in the city.
Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust aims to:
– develop affordable housing and other community assets
– support other community-led groups developing such assets
– acquire or lease land protected for community benefit
BHCLT is a central resource for Brighton & Hove community-led housing, including housing co-operatives, cohousing and self-build projects, developed through local people working together. These projects bring more affordable housing to the city. Our work to support community-led housing is being supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund.
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A Community Benefit Society
Brighton and Hove CLT is a Community Benefit Society with powers to hold land and to manage development. We are currently building up the organisation and have had grants for this purpose from the UK Community Land Trust Network and from Brighton and Hove City Council. Some of this money is going towards making local connections and sounding out opportunities for community-led developments. We are also looking for more directors and members and member organisations.
Prospects for Brighton & Hove
Brighton and Hove has limited land for development but there are sites around the city that could be used for affordable housing for local people. A CLT is an ideal vehicle for managing some of this land in ways that are sensitive to local needs and that protect it from profit-driven exploitation. It would do this by putting local residents and experts in charge.
The land could come from benevolent landowners, or from organisations (such as the City Council) that have community benefit in their brief. The CLT may also acquire land commercially if there is a good business case for that.
Support from Brighton and Hove City Council
In its Housing Strategy and City Plan, Brighton and Hove City Council said will promote the concept of community housing and consider the viability of CLTs and community-led development to maximise affordable housing for local people. The 2015 Fairness Commission recommended that ‘The council should offer council-owned and other publicly owned land, including sites on the city fringes and brown field sites, to mechanisms such as housing co-operatives, self-build groups and community land trusts to develop affordable social housing with the guarantee it will go to local people.’ Currently the CLT is co-ordinating the Community-Led Housing programme, with support from Brighton & Hove City Council.