Thame Community Land Trust was founded in 2018 with the goal of building genuinely affordable housing to buy or rent which meets the needs of local people.
After two years of hard work, a planning application for 31 homes for sale and rent will be submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council in October. A public exhibition (an exemplary example of social distancing!) was held on the weekend of 5 September. 122 turned up at Thame Town hall to view the site plans and discuss them with members of the CLT.
Bob Austin, a member of the CLT commented, ‘the event convinced us that we are on the right track. Many attendees explained the difficulties they were facing both in terms of cost and availability of Thame housing. There is a clear and desperate need to help the “missing middle”- those who cannot access social housing but cannot afford market prices. A particular interest was shown in the houses for proposed sale. Everybody we spoke to understood that all the properties would remain affordable and that resale of purchased properties would be controlled, via a resale price covenant, to ensure that this was the case.”
While concern was expressed by some residents from the surrounding area about traffic and access, the CLT is endeavouring to find solutions through ongoing consultation with Sustrans and Oxfordshire County Council.
Bob added: ‘A prime motivation of the Trust is to help keep Thame families together by providing affordable accommodation and so mitigate the drift of, particularly, young families out of the town. The demand, as shown by our housing needs survey, is greater than can be supplied by one site. We need the authorities to make the availability of land for Community Land Trusts easier. We know that no one site will be perfect but the cause is.’