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Letter: Labour’s Solution for Truly Affordable Housing is Community Land Trusts

Published on: 23 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 23 Feb, 2019

Shelley Grainger

In response to: Only Labour Can Provide Real Change in Guildford

Cllr Cross clearly knows little of national or local Labour policy. Once a national Labour government is in place, local government will, (to our local councillors’ relief, I’m sure) restore local government grants to a sufficient level. They will also remove the borrowing cap so that local government can build council houses again. With this, which is an urban scheme, we will be able to provide enough genuinely affordable housing in the Guildford area.

For the rural areas around our town, Labour is keen on establishing Community Land Trusts (CLTs) as ways of building genuinely affordable (rather than “affordable”) housing. These are run and owned by community members, they are apolitical in nature, you don’t have to be a socialist to join one. They can be set up in various ways but will build a mixture of reasonably priced private housing and housing at social rents.

The land can be bought cheaply and we’d encourage members of the community who might be able to look at pockets of land which can be built on. These are small developments and won’t be built for profit. The land values will be written into the sale documents so that the sale values do not rise at market rates.

The idea is that local villagers on local wages, usually priced out of the area and forced into conurbations, can stay and raise their families in their home villages. These sympathetic and visionary developments will attract those who are worried about development on the green belt and appeal to those who wish to see younger families being able to stay locally.

CLTs and co-operative methods of funding and developing housing are the future and the Labour Party is at the forefront of developing these ideas.

NIMBYism is no longer good enough and people like Mr Cross, ‘Independent’ or not, seem to offer little vision on how we are to house our children and grandchildren.

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Responses to Letter: Labour’s Solution for Truly Affordable Housing is Community Land Trusts

  1. John Perkins Reply

    February 24, 2019 at 1:30 am

    Would that be the same cap that the current government has already removed?

    I don’t recall Labour making things better when they held absolute power from 1997.

  2. Keith Witham Reply

    February 28, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Just have a look at what the wicked Tories (according to Labour) are actually doing in Guildford, they are providing and building a mix of homes to buy and rent at market and affordable prices.

    GBC own, manage and let a wide range of 5,200 homes at social housing rents and are reducing these rents for the fourth year in a row, by 1% in 2019-20, helping people on low incomes. At the same time, the council will spend £5.1 million maintaining and improving their tenants’ homes.

    It is investing £74 million in building a mix of new homes for sale or affordable rent across Guildford borough in the next four years.

    They are already building on a number of sites – including:

    – Guildford Park Road on previous open-air car park site (160 homes, 64 for
    affordable rent)
    – Apple Tree pub site in Park Barn (18 homes, all for affordable rent with nine
    fully wheelchair accessible)
    – Ladymead site near the new fire station (12 homes, all for affordable rent)
    – other smaller scale previously-developed sites (21 homes across five sites,
    all for affordable rent).

    By carefully managing Guildford’s housing stock and finances, GBC is now in a strong position to provide and build a mix of homes to meet the different needs across our communities. We believe that every person matters and continue to invest in providing affordable social housing.

    GBC is also increasing the homes provided by North Downs Housing, the council-owned market housing landlord company. The company is intending to build new homes to complement the properties it is acquiring to let, all with a focus on keeping homes to rent available to those struggling to own a home.

    So maybe the headline should actually read: Guildford – A Well-run Conservative Council.

    Keith Witham is the Conservative county councillor for Worplesdon.

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