Chair’s Report to the 2020 AGM
The last year has been one of consolidation in anticipation of our first development which we hope to start in 2021, subject to any ‘Covid ‘ delays.
During the year, our first as a Community Benefit Society, we have
• updated our web site and historic files Ω
• made positive moves to expand our membership, including two Board members (Louis and Pru) recruiting one Saturday in Lewes,
• undertaken a review of the Board’s performance,
• keeping in close touch with the local Councils (Debbie),
• updated our assessment of our skills, and
• elected a new Treasurer (Tony), and a new Chair, myself. I would like to thank Pru Rowntree for her contribution, having now stepped down from the chairing role after 5 years.
Most importantly we have been in negotiation with LDC to buy a site for the development of seven or eight homes to be available at ‘affordable' rents in Lewes. We have
• appointed solicitors to act on our behalf, agreed the Heads of Terms for the sale and a draft contract has now been been sent by LDC to our solicitors
• Investigated the implications of the ’state aid’ rules which have to be included in the contract of sale
• planned a consultation programme for the neighbours (Louis and Pru);
• developed a draft project plan and costings, and started drawing up a specification for architects (David);
• are investigating our financing including the possibility of grants which may be available from the SDNP, the Council and Homes England, and a mortgage from a ’social lender’ (Tony & Robert); and
• developing an allocations policy (Louis).
At the same time we are keeping a watch for other possible development sites in Lewes.
• The NSQ site, for which the LCLT has a memorandum of Understanding for us to develop about 15 homes was publicised sale in 2019, as yet there is no official news of developments, but as might be expected, much speculation.
• Progress on the the St Annes’ school site has been very slow with the County Council (owners of the site) in consultation with the SDNP about the scale and design possibilities. I understand the original consultants working for the Council are being changed to a more local firm.
• We are also keeping close watch on other potential sites within the Town
All of this is extremely time consuming and I am grateful to my colleagues for their commitment and energy on this including our long standing Secretary (Ros) who undertakes a significant admin load, and our excellent volunteer (Linda), who keeps excellent notes and prepares draft minutes for us at our meetings.
We also benefit from advice and support from AiRS and the National CLT network.
Lewes CLT AGM
We are a Community Benefit Society accountable to our members, our AGM will be held on Thursday 23rd July 2020 at 7pm. All members will be invited to join us at the meeting which will be held on Zoom. Anyone over 18 who lives or works in Lewes can join us as a member.
Please click here for further details on how to join
New Chair for Lewes CLT - Richard Pearson
We are pleased to welcome Richard Pearson as the new Chair of the Lewes Community Land Trust.
Richard, an economist, has been a Lewes resident for over 40 years. He has been a Board member
for over 3 years, and has been on the Board of numerous other local charities and organisations
including Lewes Citizens Advice, the Sussex Community Foundation, Priory School, the College,
as well as founding the “Lewes Fund”.
Richard said, ‘I am pleased to be taking over at this time when we are in the process, after
lengthy discussions, of agreeing with Lewes District Council a site on which we can build
affordable housing in Lewes Town. These homes will be reserved for those who live, work in,
or have immediate family connections to Lewes Town, and who are on the Council’s housing
waiting list. These homes will be affordable to those earning Lewes wages. Once contracts
have been signed, we will be launching our membership scheme which will enable all Lewes
residents to support the Trust in the future, when we hope to have other sites such as the
North Street Quarter on which we can develop much needed affordable housing.
Outgoing Chairman, Pru Rowntree, said 'it has been a long haul to get to the point of finding a site for our first development of affordable housing. Richard is an excellent choice to lead the Trust in this exciting development phase’.
Become a Member of Lewes CLT
June 4th, 2019
Lewes Community Land Trust (CLT) has now converted to a membership based “Community Benefit Society”. Anyone over 18 who lives or works in Lewes can join us as a member. Life membership costs £ 1 which buys a non transferrable share in the company and the right to vote at our General Meetings. Members will receive regular updates on our work, be invited to General Meetings and find out more about our schemes in development. Please click here for further details on how to join.
September 08, 2018
We have submitted our comments supporting the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan, while highlighting a number of areas where it could be strengthened to enhance the provision of local housing.
We are seeking a skilled Board member with significant financial experience – ideally a qualified accountant - to help with stewardship as we progress towards raising significant development funding.
We are seeking a volunteer to help manage our future communications with and records of Members.
As we progress development opportunities we will be seeking to involve more local professionals, landowners and professional advisers to support our work.
We have updated our Business Plan recently, and will continue to be updated annually.
In conjunction with Lewes Action on Social Housing (LASH) we put forward a joint submission to ESCC to support the case for affordable housing to be considered a priority on the St Anne’s site which they are seeking to sell.
We are actively identifying and reviewing other development opportunities in Lewes Town.
September 08, 2018
Do you have / know of anyone with a small piece of land which the Community Land Trust might utilise to provide locally affordable housing? Please contact us if you can help [reply email@example.com].
Our legal model ensures that land is held in perpetuity for local benefit.
August 25, 2019
David Bysh was appointed as a board member in December and brings with him experience and expertise in housing construction and development.
John Stockdale retired on 31 December, after many years of dedication to the Trust.
After the year ended in February 2018, Debbie Twitchen was appointed as a board member. She has considerable experience in community action and engagement with local councils to effect change.
We have recruited a volunteer, Linda Drabble, as our Minutes Secretary.
North Street Quarter Update
August 19, 2018
The start of construction is still being delayed by various factors which include fulfilling pre-development planning conditions. The site will be sold on by NSQ Ltd and Lewes District Council to a developer. Demolition cannot start until Gosnells, the soap makers, have relocated to their new factory building on the Malling Brooks site. We expect this to be later this year. We do not know when construction will start on the NSQ site but it has to be before May 2019, when the current planning consent expires. We currently expect to see some demolition and construction by January 2019.
Our Memorandum of Understanding with the landowners, signed in Nov 2015, remains in place. We expect to deliver a shared equity scheme of 15 homes as agreed, although this will be in phase 2 of the scheme, and is therefore unlikely to be delivered before 2021. We have a notionally costed plan for the delivery of our proposed NSQ project from some years ago. We cannot finalise this until we have actual costs from the developer and are satisfied that they are fair and reasonable.
Garage site developments
July 22, 2018
We are working in partnership with Lewes District Council to develop proposals deliver a cluster of locally affordable housing on sites that the Council owns.
Lewes CLT will need to have raised the funds to purchase them and the Board is actively looking at ways to do this.
We now have an allocations policy. This will require prospective tenants to be on the council waiting list, but will allow us to prioritise availability to those with significant local connections.
July 29, 2018
The Government has just launched the prospectus for the £163m Community Housing Funding programme being administered by the government agency Homes England. This provides a significant boost and opportunity for community led housing that we are well placed to pursue.
Legal Structure/Form of Trust
July 16, 2018
Our ability to raise money as an organisation is not best served by our current structure (Company Limited by Guarantee), so conversion to become a Community Benefit Society (CBS) will allow us to issue community shares in the future to raise money to fund housing. We have taken legal advice and have consulted National CLT Network about this proposed change. This new legal structure was approved at our AGM in May and is currently with the Financial Conduct Authority for approval.
Associated with this is a brand new Membership Scheme open to everyone locally who wish to participate in the Community Land Trust. Our next newsletter will outline this scheme and how you can join us. In the meantime, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org let us know you are interested in joining.
Lewes Community Land Trust set to develop their first homes!
January 23, 2018
Lewes Community Land Trust are embarking upon an ambitious programme to develop new affordable homes in Lewes. This has been kick started by a recent ground-breaking decision of Lewes District Council to approve the principle of selling local authority garage site land to the community-led organisation.
The Trust will be liaising with the Council to prepare development proposals for community consultation. Key considerations will be local housing need, ensuring the homes are well designed, and that the rents are truly affordable. The homes will be prioritised for those living / working in Lewes town.
Pru Rowntree, Chair of Trust, said, "We are delighted to be taking our first major step towards providing affordable housing for the residents of Lewes, to help address the acute shortage. It is an exciting project - which we intend to be the first of many!"
Can you help us to deliver more affordable homes in Lewes?
December 18, 2017
It is well known that in Lewes housing remains unaffordable for many people, particularly younger residents either living with parents, forced to pay high rents or move out of the town.
We believe that this can and should be addressed.
Better land use and acquisition, new sources of funding, more cost-effective design and building, and initiatives such as self build and self-finish can all make a difference.
The Community Land Trust movement emerged in America in the 1960’s as a means of providing truly affordable housing owned by local communities, and has been rapidly growing in this country. There are now over 225 Community Land Trusts in England and Wales, over half of which have formed in the last two years. The largest Community Land Trusts have over 1000 local community members each. In the UK, Community Land Trusts have developed over 700 permanently affordable homes to date and will have developed a further 3000 homes by 2020.
Lewes Community Land Trust is a not for profit organisation aiming to develop and acquire homes and other assets for community ownership and use for local benefit, in perpetuity. To help achieve this, the Trust is converting into a Community Benefit Society, ensuring that our work benefits the local community for years to come. Part of this change will involve seeking an increase in our community membership. If you have not already done so, why not consider supporting our work by becoming a member? Members will receive regular updates on our work and be invited to meetings to find out more.
The Trust was formed in response to redevelopment proposals for the North Street Quarter redevelopment. It has been a long journey, but now that planning permission has been granted we have been in discussions with Santon and Lewes District Council about acquiring a number of affordable homes on the new development. We are also looking at a range of other opportunities for small developments, and acquisition of existing property in Lewes, to provide truly affordable homes.
To achieve this, we are now looking to strengthen the Trust’s Board and are seeking new Board members with skills and experience in relation to: Finance, Land and Housing Development and Business Planning. This is an exciting time to join the Trust, with work due to start on the North Street Quarter redevelopment in the Spring, and negotiations on other site opportunities actively being pursued.
If you have the necessary skills and experience to offer we would love to hear from you. Come and help us deliver local truly affordable housing! For an informal chat please contact Graham Maunders on 07811 115494 or email email@example.com.
David Bysh appointed to the Lewes CLT Board
December 18, 2017
We are excited to announce that David Bysh was appointed to the Lewes CLT Board last week.
David holds a huge amount of expertise after working for 46 years within the Surveying/Architectural field, and also possess significant experience working with Housing Associations and Local Authorities.
After recently retiring, David was looking for the right opportunity to continue offering his experience to the benefit of the local community.
We feel David will be a great asset to the Lewes Community Land Trust, and we look forward to working with him in the New Year.
November 13, 2017
If you have not already noticed, we have launched our new website.
We will be updating the site regulary with updates, and if you know anyone who you feel should be engaged with us, please feel free to ask them to view the site and sign up for newsletters.
Lewes Community Land Trust Opportunities
October 26, 2017
Can you help play a key role in the development of community-led housing in Lewes?
The Lewes Community Land Trust is a not for profit organisation established to help increase the number of affordable homes available to local people – for rent and shared equity / ownership.
This is an exciting time to join the Trust as we are actively pursuing significant development opportunities on the North Street Quarter and Lewes District Council surplus land - amongst others.
We are looking for people with relevant skills and experience to join the Trust’s Board in the following key areas
Land / housing development
For an informal chat about the role and the work of the Trust please contact Graham Maunders – mobile: 07811 115494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the work of Lewes Community Land Trust please visit our website: www. lewesclt.org
August 2017 Newsletter
August 30, 2017
North Street Quarter
It may look as if nothing’s happening, but like an iceberg a lot is going on beneath the surface. Much is now happening on NSQ’s sister site at Malling Brooks. Santon are building a new soap factory, so that they can relocate Gosnall’s and demolish their existing buildings to make way for a new roadway into the Phoenix Estate.
Government Housing Grants to CLTs and possible housing for rent schemes in Lewes
Lewes CLT has applied to Lewes District Council for a grant from the Government’s Community Housing Fund to kick start an affordable housing programme in the Town. If we are successful we plan to provide housing in line with the ‘Lewes Low Cost Housing’ scheme proposed in the draft Lewes Neighbourhood Plan. It is hoped that rents would be kept well below the current definition of ‘affordable’ (80% of market rents) but above current social rents the Council charges.
We hope to release more information about this scheme in the autumn.
Membership of the Community Land Trust
On legal and financial advice, Lewes CLT plans to convert to a Community Benefit Society in the autumn. This complies with the legislation governing CLTs and it allows the CLT to raise capital. Voting shares at £1 are limited to one per person and the Company will retain its not-for-profit status and be controlled by its members.
We intend that members will take part in promoting and managing the CLT. We need fundraisers, we need volunteers, we need publicity to shout out the message that Lewes wants community led housing to be a powerful force in the town and that it supports its land trust.
If you are part of Lewes’s generation rent, make sure that you are registered on the Lewes District Council waiting list for social housing or for shared ownership housing, and become a Lewes Community Land Trust member in order to secure eligibility for our future housing schemes.
If you would like to receive details of proposed schemes as they come forward or an invitation to the first AGM, please contact us via the website or at email@example.com. If you know anyone else who might be interested, please copy this email on to them.
Lewes Community Land Trust will be exhibiting at the Societies Fair on 2nd September 2017, Lewes Town Hall.
If you would like to become a member, hear about volunteer opportunities, or just ask us about the story so far, we look forward to meeting you.
Mayor endorses bid for Lewes Community Land Trust for Community Housing Fund grant
March 13, 2017
Lewes Community Land Trust established has an option to develop a shared equity scheme for 15 affordable homes on the North Street Quarter site in Lewes. It is now applying for a grant from Lewes District Council’s allocation in the Government’s Community Housing Fund.
The Mayor, Councillor Dr Graham Mayhew JP, told trustees: “I wish the Trust every success. We live in an area where housing costs are so high, that even with a subsidy, it is difficult to provide housing that local people can afford, and this could have a severre consequence of pushing local generations out of Lewes to areas more affordable”. In thanking the Mayor for his support, Pru Rowntree the Trust’s Chair said “Work is due to start on the North Street site, but our plot is in Phase 2 and it will take a while to deliver. Meanwhile we are looking for other small sites in the Town that we can deliver quickly.”
“We will also be relaunching our membership scheme very shortly and we hope to resume recruiting potential residents at the same time.”
More information on the new membership scheme to follow soon, sign up to the Lewes Community Land Trust newsletter online to stay in the loop.