This month we are getting poised to sign the land contract and appoint construction parters for our first project but we need to raise enough funds to do this. The finance will be a mixture of events, government grants, other grants, loans, community shares and crowdfunding via social media. Can you help us?
We would love to start working now with families in housing need so they can join with us and invite their friends and family to be involved in raising funds for a house they hope to one day soon live in, for part rent.part buy under a shared ownership scheme.
If you are a key worker family living in Langney in insecure housing please get in touch.
Follow our journey below...
During most of 2020 trustees met online via Zoom with other CLTs and the Sussex Housing Hub to further develop our plans around raising finance, construction methods and partners. ECLT held it's first AGM on Zoom in November 2020. With the help of Accountant, John Caladine, ECLT also submitted it's first set of accounts and Report to the FCA.
Finding construction partners and getting quotes is a lengthy process and we are hampered in making progress by several lockdowns affecting our ability to travel and meet on site with potential contractors.
The new site had permission to build five 2Bed houses. We began working on a plan to build two 3Bed and three 2Bed houses to accommodate different size families in housing need.
Lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic began early 2020, and ECLT trustees, Howard and Sandy downsized and moved house just as it began, after 30 years in their family home. ECLT work stalled for several months but in May 2020 the Council wrote with an offer of land in Langney and a grant to help kickstart our fundraising efforts.
Sarah Roberts from Eastbourne Borough Council worked once again with us to find an alternative site, and another disused domestic garage site was identified, this time in Langney. The site already had planning permission and we were assured all tennancies had ceased and the garages were in fact empty.
With plans unfolding and costings looking favourable, we wrote in August 2019 to local residents living around the disused garages and asked them to meet with on site. We wanted to let them know of our plans and invite involvement. However, we discovered the garages were still in use and residents didn't want to lose them. A huge issue was parking and access for residents. We promised to walk away from developing the land and some residents joined ECLT as Members because they had been listened to.
See below our journey since May 2018...
During 2019 we had several meetings with Eastbourne Borough Council exploring the terms of our partnership working and some outline terms were drafted.
With land in sight, and a potential construction partner lined up, ECLT arranged a couple of public meetings with Hampden Park residents with Fr Adam Ransom's support at St Peter's Church hall. This was to introduce ourselves and the concept of community led housing. About 20 people attended and our hope was to find support within the community and to also discover if there were nearby people in housing need who might benefit from our plans.
ECLT were introduced to Newhaven based factory, Boutique Modern, a ten year old family firm run by father and son Dick and Lucas Shone who manufacture housing units. Volunteers visited the factory and were suitably impressed. We began learning more about this modular method of construction and continued working with Lucas to see if their cost effective methods were suitable for our project.
During 2019, and with help from Sarah Roberts, Business Development Officer, at Eastbourne Borough Council, a plot of land in Hampden Park was identified for a possible new build development. The proposal was to demolish existing domestic garages and build eight 2Bed units. Work began on costing the project to check if it was viable for affordable housing.
On 11 December 2018 ECLT received news that our Registration with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was complete. Eastbourne Community Land Trust (ECLT) became formally a legal entity known as Community Benefit Society RS007293 on the FCA Mutuals Register. We were aided in this as a Start Up Affiliate with the National CLT Network who brokered our application. The Trustees appointed by members of the initial interest group, and subsequently formed steering group, were Sandy Medway; Christopher Snook; Howard Medway and Gordana Glamnovska.
After months of education in CLT formation and related activities, with Graham Maunders from the Sussex Community Housing Hub, the steering group held a public launch at Eastbourne Town Hall on 26 November 2018. Attended by over 50 guests, which including several local councillors and the current MP, Caroline Ansell. Most attendees paid £1 and signed up as the first ECLT Members. Speakers included brief talks by several founding members who shared their passion for getting involved and volunteering to support a new movement for community-led affordable housing in Eastbourne.