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.
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’.
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.