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First public meeting for Community Land Trust

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Frome Area Community Land Trust (FACLT) held their first public and special general meeting on 1st August in a packed Frome Town Hall. 

Organisers said, “On a balmy summer’s evening, 85 people turned up to learn and share their ideas about this initiative, which aims to provide genuinely affordable housing for local people in housing need.

“The evening was introduced by Ali Barclay, a FACLT director who is also chair of Fair Housing for Frome and a town councillor who said, “When Fair Housing for Frome first consulted the public about the need for more genuinely affordable housing, there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea of a community-led organisation to acquire land and build homes. Two years on, the CLT is now up and running, thanks to the work of a great board of voluntary directors and supporters, and to the professional support we have received.”

Steve Watson, from Wessex CLT Partnership, who provides technical advice to FACLT, gave a presentation to the audience outlining the ways that other CLTS in the south west – around 50 in total – have gone about developing affordable homes to meet local community needs, in many cases working in partnership with a housing association. Steve was joined by Vanessa White, from the Powerstock and District CLT, who told the story of how they have built affordable housing in a rural area in Dorset where housing costs had previously pushed many local people to move away.

Anyone over 15 with a local connection can become a member of FACLT, by completing an application form and buying a £1 share. Roger Saunders, currently chair of the CLT, said, “We see our membership as the heart of the CLT. Members can stand as directors, they can flag up ideas and provide valuable information, get involved in working groups, help us prioritise our activities and take the right decisions. It’s fantastic that we now have over 100 members – and we hope to keep expanding that number in the months and years ahead.’ 

The public meeting included lots of discussion and practical ideas about ways of involving members and getting homes built, including ideas about self-build, low-cost building techniques and renovating existing buildings.

The evening ended with the election, by members, of the new FACLT board for the coming year. Those elected were: Alison Barclay, Tim Cutting, Nick Dove, Des Harris, Paul Horton, Chris James, Philip Macey, Peter Nowson, Roger Saunders, Ed Spittles and David Tanner.

Information about how to become a member is available on https://fromeareaclt.org/ or by emailing info@fromeareaclt.org

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