Anne Black joined the National CLT Network in March 2019. She blogs about being a part of the movement, both as a NCLTN staff member and as a member of a London-based CLT.
Anne attending NW3 CLT's recent AGM
Hello! Just to introduce myself… My name is Anne. I’m a member of NW3 CLT and have also recently joined the National CLT Network as Administrator.
I grew up in North London and like many other NW3 CLT members, would like to be able to stay in my area. Looking for affordable local housing options, I came across NW3, who are fighting to retain and regenerate existing sites and build affordable local housing over some heavyweight property developers. The plan is to redevelop unused or underused properties in the area to maximise affordable housing. (You can read more about the projects and campaigns here.)
Sometimes it seems like money is the driving force and will always win but when you see the work of groups like NW3, you realise that it absolutely doesn’t have to be like this. What I like about my city is its diversity and CLTs give me hope that it will stay that way.
I was very happy when I came across the idea of Community Land Trusts for the first time, having watched with dismay as huge luxury developments shoot up, while more and more people struggle to find somewhere they can afford to live. It is baffling and makes no sense. But CLTs do.
People who put secure affordable housing over profit are my kind of people, so I feel at home right away both with NW3 CLT and the National CLT Network.
I started in March and have learned a huge amount already (for one thing, learning about our members all over the country is definitely improving my geography!). The best part of my job has been talking to people and finding out about these amazing imaginative schemes. As one of my colleagues said, in a time of general gloom in the news, coming to work makes me feel optimistic, because we’re always hearing about great projects.
It has been fantastic to see how members support each other and pool their knowledge; their work benefits not just their own members, but other groups too. For example, NW3 CLT used the allocations policy already written by fellow members London CLT as a model to write their own policy (thanks, London CLT!).
I’ve found that it’s not all about housing, either. I’m a printmaker and one day I’d like to set up an open access print studio. The cost of space made this seem like a pipedream, but I’ve been intrigued to learn you can use the form of a CLT to create any type of community project and this has given me more concrete ideas, and I’m excited to think that this eventually could become real… If you have an inspiration, the CLT form is flexible enough to support it, the only limit is your imagination.
I’m really looking forward to learning more about our members this year, and to finding out about what we can do when we get together. Onwards and upwards…