East London Community Land Trust pioneer Dave Smith leaves

Dave Smith who steered St Clement's vision to bricks and mortar

Dave Smith who steered St Clement's vision to bricks and mortar - Credit: EL Community Land Trust

The man who lobbied to get Britain’s first urban land trust off the ground has left the project today which began construction in London’s East End on Thursday.

Land Trust development at St Clement's

Land Trust development at St Clement's - Credit: EL Community Land Trust

Dave Smith has resigned after six years campaigning to get the East London Community land Trust up and running to help solve a growing housing crisis.

He reached his goal in bricks and mortar after construction began at the former St Clement’s Hospital site in Mile End on March 20.

Dave, the Land Trust’s founding director, invited Boris Johnson to start the ball rolling by driving the first digger to begin clearing around the listed Victorian workhouse which is being turned into modern housing.

It follows a decade of campaigning by Citizens UK community organisation in Whitechapel.


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East London Trust chairman Paul Regan said: “Dave helped steer us to the momentous occasion when the London mayor broke ground at St Clement’s on the first community land trust.

“This reflects and supports and growth of the trust and the activities we will be undertaking in the next phase of development.”

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Two members of the Land Trust board take over from Dave Smith, who has been appointed London external affairs chief for the National Housing Federation and is continuing to lobbying for housing associations.

Andy Schofield, who has been three years on the board, is appointed interim Housing Director, working two days a week until September, responsible for all contracts and development needs at St Clement’s. He is the founder of Cocreate, which provides sustainability advice to big companies, public agencies and charities.

Civil engineer Colin Glen, vice-chair for the trust for the past four years, is appointed interim Community Director in a voluntary capacity for six months to organise work and membership relations. He previously went to Champlain Housing in Vermont in the US, the world’s largest community land trust, to learn how the concept could be brought to Britain.

A new full time director is being appointed in September to replace Dave Smith.

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