Swaffham Prior CLT

Fed up with the housing situation in their village, members of Swaffham Prior decided to take matters in to their own hands, with fantastic results.

Many thanks to Olivia Christian at CLT East who has compiled this case study.

Eight miles north of Cambridge, Swaffham Prior is a small, picturesque village with a vast history. Situated a stone’s throw from Fenland landmark ‘Devil’s Dyke’, the village is renowned in the area for its historic architecture including two adjacent churches and two windmills.

In 2011, a group of residents dedicated to preserving the rural integrity of their village rallied together over concerns about Swaffham Prior becoming a ‘dormitory village’. Housing pressures from the city of Cambridge had reduced levels of affordable housing and threatened to break down core community ties, so the people of Swaffham Bulbeck decided it was time to take matters into their own hands. Here is the story of one of the first CLTs in East Cambridgeshire… 

CLT set up:

• In 2011, a Housing Need Survey indicated that there were residents in the village who were unable to buy a standard family home on local wages. Additionally, 77% said they would support a small development of affordable homes within the Parish.

• A group of determined residents came together the same year to tackle these housing concerns by setting up their very own CLT with funding from a CLT set-up grant from East Cambridgeshire District Council. 

Finding partners:

• With the help of CLT East, Swaffham Prior CLT (SPCLT) became a legally incorporated CLT in 2013 and the 6 Trustees started making plans for their scheme almost immediately

• A partnership was formed between local landowners, Hundred Houses Housing Association, and private developers Iceni Homes. At the foundation of this partnership was the mutual appreciation for the input of the local community.

Delivering homes:

• Plans for the CLT homes drew on the results of Housing Need Survey, which identified that 13 households were in need of help to continue living in Swaffham Prior.

• A development of 20 houses was agreed upon including 8 affordable homes, and a planning application was submitted just 8 months after the set-up of the CLT! 

SPCLT’s model of choice differs from that of most CLTs in East Cambridgeshire. SPCLT’s agreement with Hundred Houses Housing Association means the affordable homes are under a long term lease to the housing association, who funded the development of the homes. However, true to its principles, the CLT retains crucial nominations rights and sets the rules on who among the village residents is allocated the homes. The Housing Association then manage the tenants, the building repairs and undertake the financial vetting.

The CLT Trustee Board includes a mix of representatives to ensure transparency and clear communication throughout decisions. The SPCLT Board currently consists of a representative from the Parish Council, a representative from Hundred Houses, a representative from the existing tenants and four other village residents.

For the full case study click here.