Plan to tackle shortage of affordable homes in Colyton and Colyford
- Credit: Barrie Hedges
The drive to provide much needed affordable homes for local young people and families in Colyton and Colyford is being held back by a serious shortage of suitable sites – that’s the view of concerned local residents.
In a statement issued this week, the board of the volunteer-run Colyton and Colyford Community Land Trust (CCCLT) set out a plan to enable the town to move forward on one of its most difficult issues.
In the statement the trust said: “The problem of satisfying the local need for affordable housing is one that won’t go away and indeed is likely to become more pressing. There are young people in our parish who currently have little hope of being able to live long term in the community where they have grown up. Spiralling local property prices make it impossible for them to get on the housing ladder – we as a community have to help them.
“The last available Local Housing Needs Survey in 2017 identified a need for some 36 affordable homes. While some of those people will have subsequently found homes, it is likely that the overall need may actually have increased. The new housing development on the former CeramTec industrial site should provide 14 affordable homes, some for rent and some for shared ownership. The Trust is already in discussions with the developer, WainHomes South West, and is hoping it will be possible for the Trust to take on the long term ownership of the affordable rented element so that it can ensure that local people are prioritised when they are let.”
The Trust’s proposed plan to move forward is as follows:
o A new Local Needs Housing Survey - the Trust hopes East Devon District Council will support this for 2022
o A small working group made up of members of the Trust and parish council to specifically address the issue of suitable sites
o A wider community debate to consider the conclusions from that working group.
The Trust’s statement went on: “The solutions will require a sustained effort in which we will need active support from both the parish and district councils plus involvement from land owners. Sites have to be found and permissions have to be achieved. Above all, we need both the interest and support of the wider community – without it our prospects for success are limited.
“It was Colyton Parish Council that in 2018 initiated the setting up of a Community Land Trust to help address the affordable housing challenge in the parish. We now need the council’s active involvement to help us tackle the obstacles we face going forward.”
The CCCLT board said it had already considered some 20 sites and is still evaluating one of them. Known as Lewis Haye, it adjoins the existing Seaway Head affordable homes development, which was supported by the parish council when it was built in 2010. The adjoining land is now being considered for up to 12 affordable homes in one small part of the site, with the remainder being given over to community open space and woodland, created and managed by the CLT as part of its overall vision.
The Trust’s statement added: “We are still awaiting professional advice on the suitability of that site before making a decision on whether to finalise feasibility work and engage with the community on any proposals. In the meantime, we need to continue to identify and investigate further potential sites. Brownfield sites (those which have previously been developed) within the built-up area boundary are few in number and their commercial market value tends to preclude purchase for affordable homes.”
The Trust is keen to further involve the community in the next stage including:
o Suggestions for sites – all suggestions and offers will be treated in strictest confidence
o Joining the Trust, which costs as little as £1 – information at this website: https://candcclt.co.uk/contact-join
o The Trust encourages everyone who thinks they are or may be in need of an affordable home to register with Devon Homechoice.