Community Land Trust Development
The Synod of the London District has had housing at the top of its concerns for some time now. The Social Responsibility Commission (SRC) has been looking at how the church could get involved. Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a way of providing genuinely and permanently affordable home ownership, offering up one model to address the growing gap in the housing market between people who qualify for a council property and people who can afford to buy their own home. Affordable housing is no longer affordable for many people on modest incomes. London CLT is developing housing across London based on what people earn locally.
The idea is that a family should not have to spend more than a third of their income on housing. So affordability based on local incomes make sense. The first London CLT homes are now being sold at St Clements in Mile End. There are nine local authorities across London in partnership with London CLT providing homes for people on household incomes between £30,000 and £70,000 per annum.
What can the church do? The SRC is working with London CLT to see if we can develop a Methodist pilot project. The church is a landowner and sometimes needs to redevelop a site or even dispose of a site. This gives us opportunity to consider whether providing genuinely affordable homes could be part of the development. Park Lane Church Wembley has a large car park, part of which could be used to develop about 20 homes. We are currently working in partnership with the church council to explore how we may utilise that piece of property as a contribution to the church's mission in the community. The attraction of the CLT model is that these homes will be affordable not just at the point of sale but remain affordable in perpetuity. They cannot be sold on the open market, so the price is protected by London CLT.
The SRC took a memorial to the 2018 Conference to ask for changes in our rules to be made which would allow this use of the land which we are currently required to sell at market value.