Search

Community land trust could be ‘cheap homes’ solution for Londoners

PUBLISHED: 19:43 26 August 2011

St Clement's in Bow Road

St Clement's in Bow Road

Archant

A ‘people’s land trust’ project to make owning an affordable home a reality in an overpriced London housing market has put in a bid for a derelict hospital site on the prestigious 2012 Olympics route.

The project has been seven years in the making by the London Citizens movement for homes affordable not just in today’s housing market, but in perpetuity for generations to come.

The trust held a celebration assembly on Wednesday evening after formally putting in a bid with financial backing for the former St Clement’s site in the Bow Road, on the route to Stratford—the first land trust to get this far in London.

Homes in the scheme will only cost a quarter of the open market rate if their bid succeeds, because the non-profit trust would separate housing value from the land value.

Families would own the house—not the land it stands on which currently runs at 65 per cent of the average London house price.

The trust would retain land ownership and fix the re-sale price of properties below the market rate, so even future generations get the subsidy.

But the idea has been an uphill struggle for a quarter-of-a-century, according to Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors member Stephen Hill who has been advising the project.

“We started this journey 25 years ago,” he told Wednesday’s gathering. “It’s 1988 and a few crazy people thought it would be a good idea for communities to be able to take control of the own housing solutions, with a real stake in their neighbourhood.”

Land trusts have been seen as a nuisance most of that time by house builders and housing associations, he claims.

But in 2008, they were included in an Act of Parliament. Now there are more than 100 in the pipeline in Britain, including St Clement’s.

“The lesson is that sheer bloody-mindedness and persistence will succeed,” added Stephen. “Over the lifetime of five governments, the citizens’ voice has eventually been heard.”

Housing that is unaffordable to almost everyone he feels creates social unrest and riots—and not just the disturbances of the past few weeks. But the land trust movement has radical solutions.

“We could give up the speculative increase in property value,” he concluded. “We could take on less debt to pay for our homes, take more responsibility for our neighbourhood and live more sustainably socially and environmentally.”

He has two requests of politicians. The first: “Recognise us as equal partners—we may be a nuisance, but a productive nuisance.” The second, echoing Churchill’s call to arms to the US in 1941: “Give us the tools to do the job.”

Latest East London News Stories

17:56

An man has today been arrested in east London on suspicion of dissemination of terrorist publications.

12:15

Teenagers leaving care homes and going into the adult world are to be excempt from Tower Hamlets council tax until they are 25, the local authority decided last night.

Two men have been taken to hospital after a suspected acid attack in Bethnal Green.

Yesterday, 17:04

A man who whacked his partner with a frying pan 20 times following a trivial argument over a text message has been jailed for six years.

Yesterday, 17:00

A former top government civil servant is coming to Whitechapel to take on the fight against East End poverty as Toynbee Hall’s new chief executive.

Yesterday, 14:48

An operation to ‘clean up’ the Thames is underway with new research by the Port of London Authority.

Yesterday, 10:43

More police officers are being recruited in east London to tackle crime and drug dealing on Tower Hamlets council estates—paid for by the town hall.

Yesterday, 07:00

An academic programme for former Chelsea FC players making the transfer away from football as part of an ‘aftercare’ scheme is being set up by the Institute for Sport Business at its Hackney Wick campus.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now