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Gloucestershire Business News

Council sells land for 10 affordable new homes for £1

An innovative deal has put a family-owned Gloucestershire construction firm at the heart of a project to build 10 homes for rent only in the county.

Stroud District Council has handed over land in Forest Green, Nailsworth to the town's Community Land Trust, which is commissioning six flats and four houses in response to demand from townspeople.

After the council agreed to sell the site for £1, Nailsworth CLT worked on a Community Right to Build Order (CRTBO) to develop the homes between Lawnside and Bunting Hill, in December 2014.

Residents who voted in a referendum on the issue in 2016 overwhelmingly backed the plan and it is Gloucester-based construction firm EG Carter which will be building the properties.

Mark Dix, construction manager for the firm, said: "We are pleased to be appointed by Stroud District Council as the main contractor for this important social housing project, it provides much needed affordable housing for the residents of Forest Green.

"The link between Stroud District Council and the local CLT Community Land Trust is very innovative and allows the local community to engage with the key issues of their area, and in this case, build ten much required houses for the local community."

All profits generated by the development will stay in the community and the homes will remain the property of Nailsworth Community Land Trust so they can continue to be offered to local people for rent in perpetuity.

SDC officers and councillors joined representatives of Nailsworth Town Council, Nailsworth CLT, EG Carter and the Aster Group to officially mark the handover and start of the work just last week.

Mattie Ross, SDC housing committee chairwoman, said: "This is a great scheme to help people in real housing need get a decent quality home at an affordable rent. I congratulate all involved in bringing this project forward."

Steve Robinson, a Nailsworth's ward district councillor, said: "We want to be able to offer local people the chance to stay in their communities and I am delighted that this scheme has been brought forward after a lot of hard work by the town and district councils, and the CLT."

Stroud District Council is the only local authority in Gloucestershire to manage its own council housing stock and it is nearing the end of a £19million project to build more than 230 new council homes.

SDC leader Doina Cornell Cornell said: "We would dearly love to be able to invest in more council homes but the Government has capped that for now, so we are open to other ways to build affordable homes, such as this."

A CRTBO is a type of planning application that allows local groups to propose small-scale community developments that aim to benefit towns - after the CLT established a need for affordable homes with a referendum, it looked for suitable sites and Stroud District Council offered the former garages site.

Construction firm EG Carter will build the homes and Aster Group will maintain the properties and manage the tenancies on behalf of the CLT.

After Severn Trent has carried out preliminary works, EG Carter is expected to start on site in June with a finish date target of January 2019.

Nailsworth mayor Jonathan Duckworth said: "It's just fantastic to be here on this occasion - it's been a long process but now we are going to see the homes built and it's a great story for Nailsworth."

Ian Crawley, a trustee and advisor of the national CLT network and secretary of Nailsworth CLT said: "This is a wonderful example of people coming together to help address housing need.

"What makes a local CLT so distinctive is that these homes will be for local people who need housing, forever."

Nailsworth town councillor Sally Millett added: "I'm absolutely delighted that this will happen, it's something that is so needed for young people."

Pictured: Nailsworth CLT chairman Ian Potts, Steve Robinson, Doina Cornell, Aster Group representative, Mattie Ross, EG Carter representative and Nailsworth Mayor Jonathan Duckworth

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