The West Somerset Community Land Trust (WSCLT) is carrying out an important piece of research to establish what the housing need is in the area, including where people need houses, what they can afford and what their requirements are. To take part in the first stage of this research, and help create this valuable resource for housing providers, go to: www.wsclt.com, and fill out the short housing needs survey. The deadline is 31 January.
Following the survey, focus groups will be carried out to get a more in-depth understanding of people’s needs. Meanwhile, housing professionals and those that work with people who may be in need are being consulted.
CLT is also looking to recruit ‘local housing contacts’, both to signpost people in the community to them, and to identify potential sites. This will mirror the successful work being carried out by the Exmoor Rural Housing Network. If you are interested in becoming a housing contact, or would like more information, please contact Maureen Smith on 01643 709478 or Hester Watson on 01643 821768.
Once the local housing need has been established, the CLT hope to build or renovate a series of high standard, sustainable, community owned rental properties, which will provide local people with affordable rents and security of tenure.
Maureen Smith, WSCLT Secretary, said: “The shortage of sustainable housing which is affordable to live in, in Minehead and West Somerset as whole, will continue to worsen as few large sites are available and those that are have got a lack of infrastructure. Providing this will increase costs and deter developers. Small sites, including the mystery brownfield site announced recently, can help, but hardly constitute a “housing boom”. As so many homes built for the open market disappear into the second home category or become expensive private lettings, providing permanently low cost homes is the way forward and is what West Somerset Community Land Trust has pledged to do.”
WSCLT received initial startup funding from Forum 21, Somerset Community Foundation and the National CLT Network. It is working to provide homes that are genuinely affordable based on local wages not national averages. The organisation will be community controlled and any homes built or renovated will be owned for the benefit of the community to meet the needs and requirements of the community.
To take part in the survey, discuss becoming a housing contact, become a WSCLT member or supporter, or for more information, please go to: www.wsclt.com or contact Maureen Smith on 01643 709478.