Haddenham Community Land Trust

  • Type of Community-Led Housing: Community Land Trust
  • County: Cambridgeshire
  • Local Authority: East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Number of Homes:  19 (a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bed properties) homes in a total development of 54 homes. 17 of these are affordable rent, with 2 shared ownership
  • Year of Completion: 2022
  • More information: www.haddenhamclt.org.uk

Haddenham Community Land Trust began as an idea presented to Haddenham Parish Council in 2015. Once the CLT was set up, planning permission for Ovins Rise was granted in 2018, and the first tenants moved into their new homes in early 2021.

Starting the Community Land Trust

Haddenham CLT Chairman, Mark Hugo was inspired by the Manor Farm development supported by Stretham & Wilburton CLT taking place less than 5 miles away. The idea to form Haddenham CLT was proposed to Haddenham Parish Council who were supportive. The CLT was formed as a separate entity to the Parish Council to involve the wider community, to avoid adding to Parish Council workload, and to move the process forward at pace.

The aim of the CLT was to provide affordable homes for people with a strong desire to live in Haddenham and Aldreth and a real connection to the village. The need for affordable homes was particularly an issue in Haddenham due to rising house purchase and rental prices because of the village’s proximity to Cambridge and Ely. Haddenham Parish Council, and later the CLT, also wanted to prevent local people being forced to move away and the village increasingly becoming a commuter village. In order to assess applications for housing at Ovins Rise, a strict allocations policy was put in place by the CLT. This was developed as part of the planning process and works as a points system, allocating potential tenants points based on the number of years they had previously lived in Haddenham and Aldreth, whether they work or have caring commitments in the village, whether they have children in the school, and strong family connections.

Support and funding

Haddenham CLT had support in the form of advice and funding from a wide range of stakeholders. These included:

  • Haddenham Parish Council – support and small grants.
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council – very supportive and provided early grant money.
  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority – on-going support from technical advisors. £6.5m development finance from the Combined Authority to developers Palace Green Homes to help Haddenham CLT deliver their plans.
  • Homes England – the first round of the Community Housing Fund provided funding for initial professional fees.
  • Palace Green Homes – the developer. The CLT partnership with Palace Green Homes meant that there was no upfront CLT financing for architects, land purchase, planning, or construction. The CLT houses were purchased from Palace Green Homes under an agreed arrangement which meant that the properties were acquired at a discount to full market price. Palace Green Homes were able to sell their 35 properties at full market value which preserved their business model. The CLT properties were purchased at the end of construction with a secured mortgage loan serviced by ongoing rental income. Around £58,000 from the whole site development was also raised for the parish council to use on facilities via the Community Infrastructure Levy.
  • Triodos Bank – provides the mortgage for Haddenham CLT.
  • The Haddenham and Aldreth community – importantly, the CLT had the support of the community. They engaged the wider community with the process and held public consultations in 2016 and 2017 on site selection for the scheme and on design. The plans were changed to reflect the concerns of near neighbours and to date 122 local people are signed up as members of the CLT.
  • Lucy Frazer, the South East Cambridgeshire MP, visited Ovins Rise and viewed one of the properties on 21 May 2021 to show her support.

Impact of Covid-19

Once planning permission was received and a full archaeological site survey was completed, work on site for Haddenham CLT started in late autumn 2019. The site had to be closed in March 2020 due to Covid-19. The image below shows the site in February 2020, just before national lockdown.

Credit – Haddenham Community Land Trust

Work restarted on site in summer 2020, with the image below showing a Trustee meeting on site in July.

Additional materials, supply, and transport problems for the developer caused delays and the initial construction programme had to be extended. Overall, the original timeline suggested that the first homes on site would be completed in August 2020, and these ended up being delivered in November 2020. The first CLT homes were occupied in January 2021. The CLT is run by trustees who are unpaid volunteers but they have engaged the services of an experienced housing manager who deals with tenants and administration. By mid-2022 the whole development should be completed.

Advice to groups

Haddenham CLT’s advice to community-led housing groups, particularly Community Land Trusts, includes:

  1. Ensure that if the beginnings of the CLT are with strong Parish Council support that the development is not run as a Parish Council sub-committee. The CLT should become a separate legal entity. It should be strongly business minded.
  2. Gain the input of a wide range of skills including leadership, management, housing know-how, commercial, accounting, and marketing. Trustees are unpaid volunteers so both their time commitment and skills/experience are required.
  3. Secure early-stage funding, grants and/or partnerships with developers for architects, planning, and other early-stage costs. This means that the CLT does not need to raise considerable funding upfront with no security that the project will proceed and lays the foundation for a solid financial model for the CLT to function viably once the project commences.