The development has been made possible by £364,000 investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), and is one of the very first in the country to be a led by a local community group. SCATA (Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm) has worked with the social housing provider Isos to plan and deliver the scheme as a Community Land Trust. The homes will remain the property of SCATA, with Isos managing the homes on a long lease and funding the construction work alongside the HCA.
SCATA came into being in 2012 with the objective of operating for the benefit of the local community. This is SCATA’s first major project since its formation, and although it certainly has not been easy getting to this stage, there is a real sense of satisfaction that something of real value for the village is being created. Indeed, the benefits are greater than just the new homes, as the money generated from the sale of the Guessburn site is being recycled to provide a major enhancement of Stocksfield Cricket Club premises, thus ensuring even wider community benefits.
The entire project should be completed by March 2015. The properties, which are subject to a local lettings policy, will then be available for rent via the Northumberland Homefinder service.
Pete Duncan, chair of SCATA, said:
As a not for profit community business, our role is to help meet local needs and plough back as much as we can into projects and programmes which directly benefit the local community. Our first development project is doing just that – providing much needed homes for rent for local people and re-investing £100,000 in sports facilities in the village.
At a time when it seems most of our countryside is fair game for developers, we are building homes on previously developed sites – not in the green belt. It really is a ‘win-win’ project for the whole village
Vince Walsh, development and regeneration manager at Isos, said:
This is an important development both for Stocksfield and the wider area. The community here has taken a positive approach, recognising the need for more affordable homes, and demonstrating how building those homes can have wider benefits too. We look forward to supporting SCATA in delivering a project which will provide affordable homes here for generations to come.
The North East has been a pioneering region for supporting the creation of Community Land Trusts to help bring forward affordable housing in rural areas. CLTs already exist on Holy Island and in the town of Wooler in the north of Northumberland, but the Stocksfield CLT is the first of its kind in the Tyne valley.
Karen Anderson, Area Manager at the HCA said:
It is great to see the Guessburn and Branch End projects start on site to provide much needed affordable homes for pople wanting to live in Stocksfield. Isos have worked brilliantly with SCATA to deliver the ambitions of the community for homes people can afford right in the heart of the village.
This is a great example of partnership working, where the Homes and Communities Agency’s £364,000 of funding has been able to support development shaped by the community in the area.