Brick by brick: The building of Great Staughton Community Land Trust

Are community-led housing schemes really achievable? That question has been asked by many who may not be familiar with the Community-Led Housing (CLH) movement. Great Staughton Community Land Trust (CLT) are proving that they are, with only a few months to go until their development is complete. Read on to learn more about the CLT and their project. Great Staughton CLT embarked on their CLH journey in 2018 after identifying a lack of truly affordable properties within their community. The intention was to provide affordable homes for local people and key workers who would be otherwise unable to afford to live there. This is often the case in rural communities where house prices and rents quickly becoming prohibitive to those who live and work in the area. With this in mind, land owned by Great Staughton Parish Charities was identified as a possible site for affordable housing. After numerous discussions with Huntingdonshire District Council, securing a partnership with Chorus Homes, now Places for People, and undertaking a housing needs survey through Cambridgeshire ACRE’s rural housing service, the foundations for an affordable housing scheme were laid. After nearly two years of work, planning permission was submitted in September 2020 and granted in June 2021. The approval paved way for the development of 12 homes; 9 social rent and 3 shared ownership properties. The properties range from 1 – 3 bedrooms, allowing them to suit a variety of different people with individual needs. The agreement to provide the homes as social rent also means that residents who are successful in applying for the homes will pay around 50-60% of the market rate for those properties. On 18 October 2021, the developers, Aspen Homes, officially started on site. The CLT and the community watched on as fences and signs began to appear marking the site boundary. Despite a few minor setbacks, by the summer of 2022 the sight of bricks, scaffold and roof trusses dominated the site. In early September 2022, Eastern Community Homes had the opportunity to meet with the CLT and join them on a site visit. As soon as you enter the site you can appreciate that this is a well thought out scheme, appropriately designed to its surroundings. It is spacious, inviting and fitting with the character of the village. Although work is still to complete, the CLT have much to be proud of. The CLT and future residents are now eagerly awaiting completion of the properties, which is expected by the end of January 2023. We hope to be back with them in the new year to help celebrate this incredible achievement. The scheme will be a first for Huntingdonshire and hopefully pave the way for future community-led housing projects, building on the success at Great Staughton.