SOA Community Land Trust Cafe 1, October 2020

On 28th October SOA held the first in a series of online Cafes, intended as part of our SHICC partnership.

The purpose of the event was to explore in broad terms the role of the Community Land Trust (CLT) in Ireland, with more detailed issues to be addressed in subsequent Cafes. As such, SOA invited speakers to discuss the CLT in the context of civic involvement and urban renewal, the CLT as a community resource in a small town or village, and the CLT as a vehicle for rural and ecological regeneration. Presentations referenced projects that were the result of civic initiatives in partnership with Local Authorities and also CLTs emerging with the support of private land donations.

The first Cafe was an opportunity for SOA to introduce the EU Interreg SHICC project, its goals and SOA’s envisaged role to a broad audience from our own and our partner’s networks, and other interested members of the public. All speaker presentations were recorded and videos of presentations are available on our SHICC Cafe page.

A total of 53 participants attended the event.

Key Takeaways

Presentations focussed on the application of the Community Land Trust in three contexts:

  • A presentation by Assemble focused on the renewal of an inner city urban area at Granby Four Streets in Liverpool. This CLT project includes affordable housing and community facilities such as a shared winter-garden with guestroom in one of the most severely damaged houses. The work included renovation of existing derelict Victorian terrace houses and the adaption of derelict sites. An outgrow business making architectural ceramics was established by the Community Land Trust from the proceeds of the Turner Prize, and the project has aims to include community service enterprises in the next phase.
  • The second CLT presented is located in Norton sub Hamdon, in Wessex, England. This rural village has suffered from house and rent inflation due to the popularity of the area for second and holiday homes. A small core of volunteers negotiated with a local land owner to purchase land (at it’s agricultural zoned value) to build affordable houses. The trust then took over the running of a local shop which was threatened with closure.
  • The third presentation was by the Irish Regenerative Land Trust. This rural initiative that aims in its initial phases to assume ownership of a small landholding for the purposes of ecological regeneration and to refurbish a house containing a pub in a small town to provide affordable housing.

In conclusion, the application of the Communty Land Trust in Ireland might be in areas where, at present, there is a definite need, and where it might otherwise be economically unviable for state or private intervention. From the presentations, it was clear that this is a community driven process, both in terms of running, but also, in the second case, part-financing the Trust throught he use of community shares. The converse of this, and the reason to some extent for the viablility of this approach, is the cost in volunteers’ time, which in the case of the first two Trusts, was extensive.

Full report and videos of speaker presentations available here.