District Council hosts successful community led housing events

South Somerset District Council (SSDC) hosted two events last week that allowed Parish Councils to learn more about community led housing.

The events, during National Rural Housing Week, were held in Norton Sub Hamdon and in Wincanton, with a further event planned in Horton later this month. Those attending the event at Norton Sub Hamdon were also able to view the Community Land Trust housing scheme that has been completed there and the local shop and post office which the Trust has taken over and kept going.

Wessex Community Land Trust Project were at both meetings to give parishes more information about how they can help, by providing support and practical advice to newly formed groups who want to ensure that new housing in their area is suitable, meeting local needs and blending in with existing buildings.

Parish councils also heard from people who had direct experience of Community Land Trusts sharing their experiences and achievements.

The events were organised following South Somerset District Council receiving a share of the £60 million fund set aside by Government to promote housing that is community led in the areas of the country most affected by second homes.

SSDC has delivered at least 20% of all affordable housing in rural parishes across the district in recent years and adopted a rural lettings policy that applies to the small amount of social housing that remains in many of our smaller villages.

Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing said, "I am heartened that Government has recognised the added pressure that second home ownership places on local affordability and encouraged councils, particularly those in the South West, to promote community led schemes. Our existing Community Land Trust schemes at Queen Camel and Norton sub Hamdon are a fine example of local people taking control for the benefit of their own community rather than having top-down solutions imposed on them."

A report also went to District Executive Committee giving an outline of the Affordable Housing Development Programme for 2016/17, the current position for 2017/18 and future prospects. All recommendations from the report were approved and can be viewed at http://modgov.southsomerset.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=136&MId=1976&Ver=4.

Norton Visit