A housing needs survey carried out in 2008 showed a need for 23 affordable homes in the parish of Crosby Ravensworth, Cumbria. Local residents identified a CLT as an effective model to provide this housing and to safeguard it for the community, and formed Lyvennet Community Trust in early 2009.
The Trust acquired a former industrial site from a national company, who had themselves been applying for permission to develop. They cleverly negotiated the purchase of the site on a tight deadline, keeping the price down by persuading the owner to retain 2 private plots to market later.
The Business Plan
Using a complex business plan with a mix of tenure options the Trust has managed to exceed the percentage of affordable homes required by the local authority. They will provide 10 homes for affordable rent, 2 for shared-equity ownership and 8 self-build plots for sale with local connection covenants, restricting residence to people with a long-standing connection to the community. These self-build plots cross-subsidise the scheme, and give local buyers the opportunity to take more control over the design of their homes.
The Legal Structure
Lyvennet CT were the first CLT in the country to become a Registered Provider of social housing, and have adopted a legal structure which is fit for purpose as a CLT, Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered Provider and charity. LCT also has a trading subsidiary, Lyvennet Community Developments, and this company has been used to manage the plot sales.
Rescuing the Village Pub
When the village pub closed in 2010, the Trust set up Lyvennet Community Pub, an Industrial and Provident Society, raising £300k through a community share issue. The pub reopened in August 2011 as a community enterprise, after a £75,000 refurbishment which included over 4000 hours of volunteer labour from across the community. They have planning permission to extend the pub to house a small village shop along similar lines.