Over a number of years, South Somerset District Council, Yarlington Housing Group and the Parish Council have worked to help ensure that the village is not a place where only the minority can afford to live and bring up their families. This also led to the establishment of a Community Land Trust (CLT) made up of local residents, which became the driving force behind the schemes success.
Of the ten new homes built at Minchingtons Close in the village, eight homes have been let on affordable rents and two have been sold under shared ownership. The homes have been allocated to people with a local connection to the village and surrounding parishes.
Local Ward Member for Hamdon and District Councillor, Sylvia Seal said, “SSDC is all about helping communities to help themselves, and I am very proud to have been able to support the community of Norton to achieve the ambition of bring more affordable homes to the village. Not sitting on their laurels the Community Land Trust has just started to operate the village shop following the retirement of the owner”.
South Somerset District Council enabled the Community Land Trust to establish and provided support to get the scheme through the planning and housing systems. Area North Committee also provided funds of £5,000 for legal fees.
Councillor Ric Pallister, Portfolio Holder for Housing added, “I must pay tribute to the tireless efforts of the CLT members and to Richard Holloway, a local farmer, without whom none of this would have been possible. Richard made the land available in a perfect location and with the support of Yarlington Housing group a dream has become reality and 10 families can now remain living in their local community. As many parishes will testify, bringing more affordable homes to rural villages takes time and effort and it’s fantastic that after so many years, a legacy is there for local families who would otherwise be unable to afford to buy or rent their own home in Norton”.
The District Council has also been supporting another Community Land Trust scheme, at Queen Camel, where Hastoe Housing Association are currently building twenty new homes for local people.
There are currently over 2,300 households registered for rehousing in South Somerset. Anybody in need of affordable housing can register at www.homefindersomerset.co.uk. For further information, you can visit the Housing Advice Centre at Petters House in Yeovil, or phone 01935 462462
- “Affordable Housing” generally means housing that is made available for those who are unable to access suitable housing in the current market. The Government’s preferred definition is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
- “Affordable Rent” is the rent regime applied to new homes where subsidy has been made available by the Government through the Homes and Communities Agency. Rents are ‘up to 80%’ of the rate that would be charged for a property of the same size and quality if it were let on the private rented market.
- “Shared Ownership” is where the occupant purchases a share in the value of the property and pays rent on the remainder. The housing association retains the freehold while the shared ownership leaseholder gains most of the usual rights and responsibilities of an owner. The residual rent is calculated on a pro rata basis, so the larger the share you buy the lower your rental contribution.
- HomeFinder Somerset is a common register used by all five local housing authorities in Somerset and over 40 Housing Associations and other such landlords.
- In addition to the two Community Land Trust schemes, the District Council is currently supporting another twenty affordable housing projects spread across another eleven different settlements.
- The ten houses at Norton Sub Hamdon have been made possible through capital subsidy of £420,000 made available to Yarlington Housing by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
- The HCA is investing just over £ 3 million in public subsidy to the other affordable housing projects currently underway in South Somerset and the District Council is investing just over £ ½ million
- In total 275 new affordable homes are expected to be delivered this financial year across South Somerset, of which 80 will be for shared ownership and the remainder will be either social or affordable rent (i.e. sub market rents in all cases)