Both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson promised that they would use Community Land Trusts to increase the supply of affordable housing in London and give local people power over their communities. The St Clements Hospital site in my ward appears to have mayoral support to become a CLT, but there are concerns that the CLT will not have the ability to determine permanent affordability of the homes on the site. Without this power homes built there will be out of the reach of local people. I have written the letter below to David Lunts, Director of Housing and Regeneration at the GLA, in the hope that this can be resolved.
St Clements was originally built by public subscription, and has always been used in public service. Homes that are built there must be affordable for local people – and in one of the poorest wards in the country, that means homes for social rent, and guaranteed permanent affordability of the homes that are for sale.
Dear Mr Lunts,
I am writing as a local councillor for the Mile End East ward of Tower Hamlets. The St Clements Hospital site, currently being disposed of by the HCA, is in my ward.
I was glad to see Richard Blakeway’s letter to the Guardian in which he stated his and I assume the Mayor of London’s ambition to have a Community Land Trust (CLT) on the St Clements site.
I share the ambition to have a CLT on the St Clements site. The lack of affordable and family sized housing in Tower Hamlets has massive consequences for health, education and wellbeing in Tower Hamlets. It is because we must do all we can to increase the supply of genuinely affordable housing that I support the Community Land Trust model, in where the land is held in trust in perpetuity by the community, guaranteeing long term affordability for both those who buy and those rent at social rent levels, through the council’s housing register.
I support a CLT because it is the model that can deliver much needed social housing on the site as well as ensure permanent affordability for those who buy, as the land trust remains the right to buy back the property at a fixed rate, ensuring that local families are not priced out. It is vital that the CLT is able to restrict resale values if local people are to be able to access homes that are built there.
I very much hope that it is this model of a CLT, the model widely understood in existing CLTs, with genuine, permanent affordability built in, that is adopted on this site. St Clements is a site that has always been in public service, built originally by public subscription. I hope to be able to work with you and with the GLA to ensure that the St Clements site continues to have a use that reflects the needs of the people of Tower Hamlets.
Cllr Rachael Saunders