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New group tackles shortfall in housing in Lyme Regis
A NEW group has been set up to help tackle the shortage of affordable housing for young people in Lyme Regis.
Denis Yell, Ray Smith, Keith Shaw and Keith Jenkin have been asked to explore the idea of establishing a community land trust (CLT).
Mr Yell updated town councillors on their progress at a full council meeting, when members welcomed their efforts.
Mr Yell said: “I think we are all aware that the overall UK shortage of affordable housing is a big problem in small communities like Lyme Regis.”
He said affordable housing is part of the Lyme Regis Community Plan so it is high on the agenda, although land to build houses is hard to come by.
One way of alleviating the problem of affordable housing would be to form a CLT, he said.
“The concept of these trusts has been around for many decades and it has worked very well.
“It involves the formation of a local, community-led group that would take ownership of such sites for housing in perpetuity.
“The development trust, LymeForward and the town council have been encouraging the formation of a community land trust and have asked a small group of us to explore the idea.
“We have already taken up emerging membership of the community land trust network.”
A CLT holds land in trust for the community and offers the buyer the possibility of sharing in the equity of the property, although the trust would retain freehold of the land.
The leaseholder could be an individual or a housing association but the CLT would have control over who lives there.
Councillors were pleased progress is being made but stressed that the homes should be for rent.
Coun Mark Gage said: “The provision of affordable housing for rent – and I think that’s the key thing – is something that is very dear to my heart and I think to most of the councillors, if not all, of those on this council.
“There is a desperate need to replenish the housing stock for rent in order that we can find homes for our young families.
“I hope we will work very closely with the group as a town council.”
Coun Barbara Austin said: “I do hope there’s a stipulation that any affordable housing goes to the young people of Lyme Regis because they have been treated so badly over the years.”
Mr Yell agreed it was one of the ‘prime issues’ in Lyme Regis.
Mr Yell said they hope to present formal ideas later in the year and would welcome help from anyone in the community who would like to become a member of the community land trust once it is formed.
He added: “None of us can underestimate the work that would be needed to drive the idea forward.
“It has to involve the whole community and the broader the range of people within the community, the better.”
Anyone who would like to join the group can contact Mr Yell at email@example.com