Housing case study 1: Lyvennet Community Trust

In less than five years, a Cumbrian community land trust (CLT) has transformed a brownfield site, provided affordable homes and saved its village pub. Crosby Ravensworth residents formed...

In less than five years, a Cumbrian community land trust (CLT) has transformed a brownfield site, provided affordable homes and saved its village pub.

Crosby Ravensworth residents formed Lyvennet Community Trust (LCT) in 2009, after a survey showed the parish needed 23 affordable homes. It has already sold 10 houses and six self-build plots, with two more of each currently for sale.

The trust acquired a former industrial site, negotiating the purchase on a tight deadline and keeping the price down by persuading the owner to retain two private plots to market later.

It will provide a total of 10 homes for affordable rent, two for shared equity ownership and eight self-build plots for sale with covenants which restrict residence to people with a long-standing connection to the community.

The self-build plots, which were included after local buyers expressed a desire to get involved in designing their own homes, help subsidise the project. It has also been supported by Crosby Ravensworth Parish Council, Eden District Council, Community Land Trust Fund, Tudor Trust, Esmee Fairbairn and Venturesome, along with a £660,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency and over £1m private finance from the Charity Bank.

The first CLT in the country to become a registered provider of social housing, LCT is also a company limited by guarantee and a charity. Its trading subsidiary, Lyvennet Community Developments, manages the plot sales.

When the Butchers Arms closed in 2010, the trust set up Lyvennet Community Pub, an industrial and provident society, which raised £300,000 through a community share issue. The Butchers Arms reopened in 2011 as a community enterprise, after a £75,000 refurbishment which included over 4,000 hours of volunteer labour. The co-op has also planning permission to extend the pub to include a community shop.

  • For the full article on the growth of co-operation in the housing sector, and for further case studies, click here.
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