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UK Housing Policy and Practice

Community Land Trusts

Introduction

Community land trusts (CLTs) are locally-based not-for-profit organisations that own land and property in trust for the benefit of a defined community. Already well-established in the USA, community land trusts work on the basis that housing charges remain affordable but that the land and any subsidies or planning gain remain with the trust to ensure affordability in the long-term. They are increasingly recognised as one possible means of overcoming the widespread problems of social exclusion and unaffordable housing caused by escalating land values in the UK. As well as ensuring long-term affordability, CLTs also encourage active citizenship by giving local people collective control of decisions in relation to land and assets. 

In 2005, BSHF held a Consultation at St George’s House, Windsor Castle to explore how to widen the use of CLTs in the UK and to encourage community engagement and local ownership of community assets, as well as facilitating long-term access to affordable housing. The subsequent report, Redefining the Commons, contains recommendations to support the growth of CLTs in the UK.

BSHF established the Community Land Trust Forum in 2005 to bring together a wide range of practitioners, experts, policy makers and academics with an interest in community land trusts. The forum enables practitioners to share good practice, keep in touch with updates, debate issues and deliver a consistent message to the media and policymakers.

The National CLT Network, established in 2010, promotes and supports the work of CLTs and its members across England.