Daily Archives: November 28th, 2019

A Royal Town Sustainable Housing Model

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A Royal Town Sustainable Housing Model 

The aim of this blog is to look at a viable proposal for sustainable housing to help revitalise the Town Centre. New housing would replace outdated shops and multi-storey car parks like the Red Rose Centre with residents living, working and shopping in the Town. The vision is to harness Sutton’s excellent facilities and public transport connectivity to build genuine long term sustainable multi-generational communities.

What would these communities look like? 

The idea is to consider combining two innovative models: firstly the Community Land Trust (CLT) model. CLT homes are a way of providing genuinely and permanently affordable new homes either for rent or low-cost ownership. They can be used to address the growing gap between people who qualify for social housing and people who can afford to buy their own home. Crucially they feature a resale price covenant when occupants buy, so that if they sell, they can only sell at a price linked to median incomes again, so the homes remain affordable for generations to come.

The other model would be Cohousing: Cohousing communities are created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, private home as well as shared community space /facilities. Residents come together to manage their community and share activities. Cohousing Development in Sutton would be primarily aimed at starters, perhaps with shared equity or shared ownership linked to the Cohousing Concept. But it might also be aimed at, say, seniors looking at a shared community means of living. In combination both the CLT and Cohousing models would consciously look at broadening wider demographic and multigenerational housing opportunities within the locality, both integral to the Centre development but also to other commercial and community housing in the Royal Town. At the outset this is a means to strengthen communities through broadened demographics and strengthened economic vitality.

How would the housing models fit together?

Both the CLT and Cohousing elements would be carefully and invisibly integrated within the model development. The buildings themselves would be highly sustainable in terms of energy use and carbon impacts: for example using the Passivhaus system of high insulation, and heat recovery. Green Elements such as generous balconies, roof gardens / allotments would help make the urban development distinctively green. And the cost of occupation would be low.

Integral to the development would be shared community facilities. Some would be for residents, such as crèches, communal ‘Great Hall’ spaces, laundry, sacred and/or community spaces etc, others would belong more widely to Royal Town Residents: a new ground floor Library, Town Council Offices, local archive / museum, public spaces and walkways, cycle sale and repair etc

How would this model be delivered and managed? 

A shared Community ethos is critical for success, and so a Community Development Trust (CDT) would be established to scope, design, develop, and oversee the estate management. The CDT would be partnership-based with reps from the Town Council, City Council and Community allied with Community Developer / Landlord, with ethical funding and financial oversight. Occupiers would collectively contribute and agree how the model is managed.

Examples of places where this has happened?

 

Our Case Study of Marmalade Lane Cohousing in Cambridge can be found at:

http://www.ecosutton.co.uk/co-housing-a-template-for-sustainable-housing-for-langley

 

Our Case Study of Brasted Close CLT can be found at:

http://www.ecosutton.co.uk/clt-case-study-brasted-close/

Case Study Summary

Rather than wholly relying on market delivery, this model is very much about communities taking control, with a broader mix of market and community-led development and a strong underlying ethos. The Town Council would initially be the visionary and enabler, later the more complex financing delivery and management would be owned by the CDT, occupiers and Royal Town Community.

Images from other relevant Eco Sutton Community Planning Case Studies:

     

CLT Case Study: Brasted Close

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Continuing our series of Case Studies relevant to Langley SUE and also models for new community housing in the Royal Town Centre.

Initiated by the local community, Brasted Close is a modest development of 11 new homes to be built on a garage site in Sydenham and existing residents will be involved in the process. The homes will be genuinely affordable and protected in perpetuity.  

Number of homes 11 genuinely affordable homes
Location Sydenham
Stage Planning permission granted 2019

How they formed

Lewisham Citizens, part of the Citizens UK charity, held an assembly with 400 people before the local elections in 2014 and persuaded the then Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, to work with local people to deliver Community Land Trust homes in the borough. After extensive community site walks and a local membership drive, Lewisham Citizens brought in London CLT to discuss specific potential sites with the Council. They also engaged with residents and neighbours, and gradually built up a Residents Steering Committee to help with the plans.

Site

Having considered a report to Mayor and Cabinet in 2016, the council agreed that a small area to the rear of the Brasted Close estate should be declared surplus to the Council’s requirements and that officers work with London CLT for a period of twelve months to develop a fully affordable housing scheme for the site. Out of the 17 garages on the site, only 4 were let to residents of the estate. The Council wrote to all garage tenants advising them of the proposal and informing them of other garage locations. Given the proximity of the site to secure tenants, the council also carried out a statutory S105 consultation about the potential sale of the site to build new homes. In addition to the statutory consultation, officers also wrote to leaseholders on the estate. There was only one respondent expressed concern which the designs seek to address.

Affordability 

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a way of providing genuinely and permanently affordable new homes either for rent or low-cost ownership. They can be used to address the growing gap between people who qualify for social housing and people who can afford to buy their own home.

The CLT homes at Brasted Close will be for sale, priced according to local earnings, ensuring that local people are able to live in the local area. ‘Local earnings’ are taken as the average of median incomes using data published by the Office for National Statistics. Based on 2016 figures, the estimated price of a CLT home is around 40-50% of the full market value in the area. Although the scheme is receiving some grant funding from the GLA, these values are primarily achieved because the land value is effectively locked in to the Trust in perpetuity through resale price covenants in individual leases, and governance mechanisms to ensure these are not varied.

Design

Lewisham Citizens held open meetings in late summer 2016 to discuss aspirations and fears about the scheme and to set the criteria for selecting architects. Several architects presented to residents at a ‘pick the architect’ event in September 2016. Residents chose Archio as their preferred architects. Archio spoke to residents on site to begin the design process. Approximately 30 residents and 48 students and staff from the neighbouring school attended. The community engagement has allowed Archio to develop a scheme addressing the key concerns raised by residents around pedestrian access, overlooking, height, privacy and parking. Planning permission for Brasted Close was granted in April 2019.

Who will live there

It is anticipated that the homes will be very popular. A clear allocations policy will be developed with the council focused around:

  • Those priced out of the housing market but able to afford a London CLT home
  • Those require a property more suitable than their current accommodation
  • Those with a minimum of five years’ connection to the borough
  • Those who belong to and participate in the local community
  • Members of London CLT

Resale Price Covenant

All residents sign a resale price covenant when they buy, so that if they sell, they can only sell at a price linked to median incomes again, so the homes remain affordable for generations to come.

LINKS:

http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/what-is-a-clt

https://www.londonclt.org/lewisham