Appledore CLT – tackling a seaside village affordable housing shortage

A dire need for local affordable housing is the motivation behind Appledore Community Land Trust’s vision for a community homes project in their seaside village.

As a quaint historic sea port in North Devon, Appledore has long attracted visitors keen to see its narrow streets and thriving, historical quayside; but over the years, more and more holidaymakers have snapped up houses as second or holiday homes, and now 42% are now owned by non-villagers.

High resale prices have forced out many young people bought up in the village and a lack of available building land has worsened the situation for local people wanting affordable homes.

When Appledore CLT formed in 2009 in response to this problem, their district council brokered the sale of a piece of land for possible building purposes. In order to buy it though, the CLT needed cash, and this was offered by a local resident who selflessly offered a zero percent loan over five years. The CLT then worked with a housing association to try and overcome some of the problems presented by the steep and rocky site. But after complex investigations, the housing association ultimately withdrew, saying the high costs associated with getting 12 homes on the site made affordable housing unachievable.

Appledore CLT refused to give up though and in 2015, they set about revamping the project. Using a Community Buildings Pre-feasibility grant, they employed professionals to find new and cost effective ways of dealing with the problems posed by the site, and have now agreed on a simplified scheme for nine affordable rented homes that will be permanently available to the local community.

Appledore

A further Community Buildings Project Support grant is helping the group pay for the professional support they need to move the project to planning permission stage. Appledore will then partner with another housing association to construct and manage the homes. Appledore CLT will receive ground rent on an ongoing basis and will retain the site freehold.

Peter Reveley of Appledore CLT said it is the simple need for affordable housing that has driven the group forward.

“Local young people have no chance of buying a home here as things stand. That’s why this project is so important for Appledore. We would like to go on and build more but there is a real shortage of suitable sites. That’s something we will need to look at in the future.”