One of the land trust schemes in Burlington, Vermont.
Maccreanor Lavington plans UK’s first permanently affordable homes
Maccreanor Lavington is bidding to build a series of homes in east London that its backers claim is following a US initiative where homes are sold for a fraction of the going rate to keep them affordable for years to come.
The practice has teamed up with developer Igloo and the East London Community Land Trust, a not-for-profit housingorganisation, for a £50 million-plus Homes & Communities Agency scheme to turn a former hospital in Mile End into more than 300 homes.
The Maccreanor Lavington team wants to make one third of its homes affordable, with the remaining 200 put on the open market for sale. Of the affordable homes, a third will be put on the open market but at 25% of their true market cost. The scheme would be the first of its kind in London.
“They are predominantly three-bedroom houses and they will be available to people if they have a joint family income of up to £30,000 a year,” said East London Community Land Trust project director Dave Smith.
Smith said the trust was being advised on its bid by US housing group Champlain Housing Trust which was set up in 1984 to
create affordable housing in Burlington, Vermont.
The scheme allows owners to pass homes down to other family members or sell them to the trust with the vendor taking a maximum 25% slice of the amount the home has increased in value between it being bought and sold.
“The legacy is permanent affordable housing,” Smith added.
Proposals for community land trusts have already been backed by London mayor Boris Johnson, who, in his 2008 election manifesto, said he wanted a “network of community land trusts to give hope to people” priced out of owning their own home.
Maccreanor Lavington associate Kevin Logan said architects should prepare to look at land trusts as new work sources.
“It’s a very interesting model and I’m sure architects will be working more with them in the future,” he said. “It sits well with localism and the idea of local neighbourhood planning.”
Igloo and three other teams — Wates, Galliford Try and Hadley Mace — submitted bids last month and will be told by December who has won.
Built in 1849 as a workhouse for the poor, St Clements Hospital, which is part grade II listed, closed in 2005.
A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a non-profit, community-based organisation that develops housing or other assets at permanently affordable levels. It does this by separating the value of the building from the value of the land, estimated as being 65% of the average house price in London.
The CLT retains ownership over the land and fixes the resale price of houses below the market rate, so that home-buyers can have an initial subsidy and every generation thereafter can also afford the homes.
The idea has been used extensively in the US, most notably in Burlington, Vermont, where two land trusts merged to form the Champlain Housing Trust which looks after 1,500 apartments and more than 400 owner-occupied homes.
The trusts were founded by the City of Burlington in 1984 to provide affordable, safe housing for families with low to moderate incomes.
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