A newly formed community land trust has begun its work on a bold new agenda to tackle the housing crisis in north Cornwall.

North Kernow Community Housing is a community land trust that was set up in November 2022 by local residents who were concerned by the lack of genuinely affordable rented housing for local people.

Their aim is to work in partnership with local communities to create the housing they need in the places they want.

The organisation has been run by a volunteer board of trustees until April this year when it took on three part time staff - a project manager, project administrator and community engagement officer - who will be on the ground as the organisation moves into its next stage.

Across the UK community land trusts are providing innovative solutions to localised housing issues. Often working in partnership with local councils or housing associations, community land trusts take control of land or property which is then developed in collaboration with local communities to meet the needs of that community.

Community land trusts are not-for-profit so unlike mainstream housing developers who need to make a money for their investors, any profit made by community land trusts goes back into future projects for community benefit. Additionally, any properties or land they acquire are ‘asset locked’ meaning they must legally remain affordable for future residents, in perpetuity.

Since November 2022 the board have been working to get the community land trust up and running, meeting and gaining the support of local and regional councillors as well as learning from other, more established, community land trusts. North Kernow Community Housing has received £69,484.76 in grant funding.

This funding has been allocated from Cornwall Council’s Community Levelling Up Programme. The Community Levelling Up Programme is part of the Good Growth Fund, which is delivering the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. This funding has enabled them to start planning the next phase of activity which involves establishing relationships with local communities in all the northernmost parishes of Cornwall.

Over the next few months North Kernow Community Housing will focus on:

• Setting up community action groups in parishes around north Cornwall

• Working with these groups to plan how to tackle housing needs in their local area

• Identifying potential sites that would provide housing to meet the needs of local communities

• Talking to landowners who might have a piece of land – however small - that would not be developed on the open market but might be suitable for a community-led affordable housing scheme

To be updated on opportunities or to be involved with North Kernow CLT, or if anyone is a landowner in north Cornwall who would like to know more about their work get in touch on [email protected] or keep an eye on social media for upcoming posts.