Community-led housing project approved for Soham

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A ground-breaking housing scheme in Soham has been given the go ahead by East Cambs District Council’s (ECDC) planning committee.

This is the first scheme that has gained planning permission as a partnership between ECDC’s development company, Palace Green Homes, and a local Community Land Trust (CLT).

Thrift CLT for Soham is a local, democratic organisation run entirely by volunteers from the local community. CLTs work to ensure provision of housing which is affordable to, and secured in perpetuity for local people.

This scheme consists of 13 new homes, from one bed flats to three bed family homes, at The Shade. Eight of them will be affordable homes, offered for both rental and shared ownership.

The developer, Palace Green Homes, is part of the trading company set up by ECDC last April and is a specialist in community-led housing and firmly believe that involving the community in the development of new housing delivers real social and economic benefits.

They hope to start on site in July for completion in the summer of 2018.

The new homes will be owned and managed by Thrift CLT on behalf of the community.

As well as gaining this valuable community asset, the people of Soham will also benefit as the homes will be reserved for people with strong local connections to the town, who would otherwise be unable to afford suitable accommodation.

Chair of the Community Land Trust, Rosemary Aitchison, said: “We feel passionately that those who have strong local connections to our town should be able to afford high-quality, suitable housing.

“These may be people that grew up here, have family in the town, work here and contribute to the community.

“These are the people we want to help, whether it be young families just starting out or older people that want to stay in the town in which they have their roots.

“We hope this development will provide something that the town can be proud of and, as the homes will be retained by the CLT for the benefit of the community forever, leave a real legacy for the town.”

Thrift CLT for Soham are already welcoming Expressions of Interest in the affordable homes.

“If you, or someone you know, has strong local connections to the town of Soham and is looking for housing then please do get in contact with the CLT via their website www.thriftsoham.org.uk.

“Any local people are also encouraged to sign up, for just £1, as members to the CLT. This will enable you to keep up to date with the project and have your say as a member of the community in any future projects.

“For more information on CLTs in general please contact Emily Mulvaney at CLT East, the regional adviser for Community Land Trusts, on emily@clteast.org or 01353 668985.