Our Vision is to provide much needed homes, for people on a low-middle income who live, work and have family connections in Stoke Gabriel. We aim to have a small number of homes built in the village (probably 10-15). The village housing needs survey (2015) and our repeated advertising requesting those in need to come to our open meetings and make themselves known, shows similar numbers.
To achieve our aim, land is donated for free by a village benefactor (we currently have land offered for free to our CLT) or it is bought at low cost, and homes built via an "Exception Site" planning route, specially created for community-led affordable housing. Following planning permission, homes are designed and built professionally, with community involvement, using a custom built approach, by local firms and involving some hands on work from local people in the final stages!
The affordable homes will be in keeping with the character of the village as set out in the new Neighbourhood Plan. They will be built with sensitivity to our environment and using methods that create energy efficient homes. This is important as once we have built "Affordable Homes", they must then also be "Affordable" to live in! e.g. with good insulation and rain water harvesting.
We hope the development could also include a community allotment, orchard and perhaps even a community green, where locals can come together, children can play and where we can all meet and enjoy ourselves!
This is really important to us- many of us have felt we’ve been a marginalised and forgotten group in the village. So our CLT has been working closely with the Community, developing links with South Hams District Council, Stoke Gabriel Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan group. We also receive specialist Technical Advise funded by the UK’s leading Charity for Community Land Trusts.
We’re actively looking for enthusiastic and skilled volunteers to join us and are planning community events such as our "Pop-in Sunday" recently advertised in the village.
Because of the approach available to CLT’s to purchase land, develop sites and finance builds with grants available, this means that the cost of each house can be kept as low as possible. As a result home owners can get smaller mortgages and people normally unable to get on the housing ladder are enabled to do so. We are currently working on financial modelling with a CLT technical adviser as this is a complex area, requiring detailed planning and a water-tight business plan. We aim for the CLT homes to be closer to 50% of open market value, our vision is to build a 2 bedroom house costing £120,000.
Depending on peoples circumstances the SGCLT is proposing to offer two different housing solutions.
1. Rent to Buy. This option allows people to move into a SGCLT home under a rental agreement. This could be around £600 month for a 2 bed. The difference from private renting is that the £600 is split by the SGCLT. One portion will go on paying the interest on the loan that was used to build the house and managing it. The second portion will be held by the SGCLT.
By the tenant demonstrating over the first two to five years that they can pay the rent on time and look after the property, then they will have the option to change from renting to buying the home. The money held by the SGCLT will then be given back for use as a deposit.
2. Buy – Shared Ownership
If the occupant can get a mortgage and has a deposit (£6000) then this option allows them to buy the property. However, to keep the property affordable in perpetuity the resale value is set at a % of market value. e.g. We build a 2 bed house for £100,000 (50%) of the open market value of £200,000. In ten years’ time if you want to move than the open market value could have risen to £300,000, but you will only be able to sell at 50% of this (£150,000) to maintain the affordability for future villagers in need.The person buying the home will also have to match the allocation policy. (Lives and works in village etc).
Each CLT project is unique in how it funds it’s affordable housing build and this process evolves, e.g. Through South Hams District Council Affordable Housing Fund
Only around 11% of land is built on in England. Land for housing in Stoke Gabriel is becoming limited. Over the last five years major developers have bought the key sites identified by South Hams “Call for Sites”. Examples of this are the old V&A carpark, the Rowes Farm development and the "Kings Orchard" Cavanna site.
We have been offered Land for free by a village benefactor, who understands and supports what we are trying to do. We continue to work closely with SHDC to secure land for the project and are able to offer land owners certain advantages under the specific planning routes for projects such as this, on land that may not usually get planning permission.
If you own land in the village and want to find out how you can help the SGCLT, please take a look at: Land Owners Questions
At this early stage we anticipate that houses would be semi-detached, well built professionally built, economical to run and imaginatively designed, using local firms and builders.