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Affordable Housing

Hook Norton Community Land Trust

There are many groups in the village that recognise that Hook Norton needs to provide affordable housing to keep the vibrant thriving heart to our community. We also believe that any new housing in the village should be highly energy efficient and be fit for our community through to 2050. We suggest that both these priorities could be met through a housing development of 6-8 low carbon and affordable homes in Hook Norton.

We are proposing to set up a Community Land Trust which will allow us to provide housing at permanently affordable levels for long-term community benefit. Hook Norton Community Land Trust (HNCLT) will do this by separating the value of the low energy building from the land that it stands on. So for example HNCLT is likely to retain the freehold of the development and then sell the houses on the basis of a 999 year lease based on the construction cost for the house. The future resale of the house could then be index linked to the Retail or Consumer Price Index (RPI or CPI).

For details on Community Land Trust works see : www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk and the local example in Stonesfield www.stonesfieldcommunitytrust.org.uk.

We will build on the success of the social enterprise Hook Norton Low Carbon Limited (www.hnlc.org.uk) to create a Community Land Trust in Hook Norton to provide low energy, affordable housing for our community. Through shared-equity homes, fixing the resale percentage, we will enable occupiers to pay for the use of buildings and services at prices they can afford. The value of land, subsidies, planning gain and other equity benefits are permanently locked in by HNCLT who holds the asset in trust for long-term community benefit.

Through the management committee of Hook Norton Low Carbon Limited we have the people, the skills, and the funds needed set up “Hook Norton Community Land Trust”. The first step is to see if there is interest from the community for us to develop a low carbon affordable homes scheme, and whether owners of the potential plots of land for affordable housing would be keen to work with us. This could then be followed by a pre-feasibility study including initial design concepts for low carbon homes in keeping with the iron-stone heritage of the community but reaching code level 4 to deliver homes that are needed for 2050 and beyond. It will also include considerations such as reducing the need for additional traffic through pool cars based on site, the potential for sheltered housing for the elderly (where we might then bring the HN houses they move from into the HNCLT) and incentives for those in local employment.

Our initial thoughts are to start a discussion with Cherwell District Council on the possibility for the land they own off The Bourne, but we are aware that there may be other plots of land that may be appropriate for affordable low carbon housing.

We are distributing this document to organisations and individuals who may wish to contribute to developing these plans. We are also interested to hear from those who may wish to partner with HNCLT.