Westbourne community housebuilding project gets backing of Chichester District councillors
A ground-breaking project, where a community in Westbourne will be building their own homes for local people to rent, is being backed by Chichester District councillors.
Westbourne CLT (Community Land Trust) was formed four years ago by a group of residents who wanted to tackle the shortage of affordable homes for local people.
They are working on a project to deliver 12 new affordable homes in Mill Road. These will consist of six one-bed homes; four two-bed homes and two three-bed homes. The project is aimed at meeting the housing needs of local people and will contribute to the district council's target of delivering 167 affordable homes each year.
At a Full Council meeting on 18 July, councillors officially agreed to back the trust and its aims.
"One of our council's key priorities is to improve the provision of and access to suitable housing," says Councillor Adrian Moss, Leader of Chichester District Council. "At the moment, the average house price in our district is more than 13 times the average salary which makes it difficult for local people to remain living where they grew up. Community-led schemes such as this one in Westbourne are an important tool to help achieve access to affordable housing and have many benefits such as creating stronger neighbourhoods and providing greater local accountability.
"We are delighted to be able to support Westbourne Community Land Trust and look forward to seeing the scheme progress over the coming months. The council has also supported a scheme in Midhurst which has been really well received by the community. Schemes like these will really make a lasting difference to their communities and support future generations."
Frank Campbell, Chair of the Westbourne Community Land Trust, said: "We are very grateful to have enjoyed the support and encouragement of the local community, the Parish Council, Chichester District Council, South Downs National Park Authority and Homes England.
"We reached a major milestone in February this year when we secured planning permission and now, we are finalising our arrangements for funding the scheme. We hope to start on site during the summer this year and have the scheme completed by the Autumn of 2024.
"Our ambition has always been to deliver a comprehensive community project and we carried out extensive consultation with local residents and organisations.
"Providing affordable housing is critical to ensuring that young people and families can continue living and working in the place where they grew up and without this scheme and others like it our local communities will not thrive."
Community Land Trusts are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes. They also manage other assets important to their local community which could be a local pub or shop that is at risk of closure or providing local workspaces or community facilities. The CLT acts as the long- term steward of these assets and in the case of housing, ensuring it remains affordable in perpetuity.
CLT's provide affordable homes in local communities where the cost of housing is high and where it is difficult to bring forward new housing due to high land values. Community Led Housing plays an important role in affordable housing delivery.
Westbourne is the first CLT to build their own homes, while a similar scheme in Midhurst was created by buying existing properties and turning them into affordable homes.
Any communities that are interested in setting up their own affordable housing project are encouraged to contact the council's Housing Delivery Team for technical help and advice.
There are many different ways for communities to set up their own housing project. Examples of projects include: community-owned rented housing; low-cost housing for sale; housing co-operatives; self-build schemes; co-ownership; and housing for older people. Community schemes can access a wider range of funding opportunities not available to large developers and give communities control over design and affordability as well as ensuring local traders are employed.
See Chichester District Council and Community Led Housing for more details.
Date of Release: 20 July 2023