Digging into new ground - Christow Community Land Trust
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A unique development that will provide 18 affordable highly energy efficient homes in Dartmoor National Park, is about to start on-site. The £3.6million project in Christow is being led by the Christow Community Land Trust (CCLT) and supported by Teign Housing, which has invested £574k and will manage the properties once built.

Most of the properties will be built to full PassivHaus standards, which is one of the highest standards of environmental building. Almost no heating is required and it is believed that the total energy bills for these properties will be just £100 a year. This will be the first PassivHaus development for Teign Housing and it is believed to be the first PassivHaus development to be built in a National Park anywhere in the world.

Of the 18 homes in the development, 14 will be available to rent and four will be sold on the open market, at an affordable price. The houses sold on the open market will have restrictions on occupancy and market price to make them affordable for local people. This site is due for completion in July 2016.

Pamela Woods, Christow Community Land Trust’s Chair said: “This development demonstrates what can be achieved by the community for the community and by regular consultation and engagement with people in Christow. It responds to a clearly identified local need for family housing, built to the highest environmental standards. It will also enable many elderly or disabled residents to remain in the village, maintaining their contacts and extending their quality of life. We are confident that these homes will benefit all of us who live in Christow, directly and indirectly, and that the Layne Fields development will help us sustain our lively and diverse community; that is what makes this project so special.”

Stephen Purser, Teign Housing’s Chair of the Board said: “Working with Community Land Trusts is fairly new to Teign Housing, we are currently working with three. It is proving to be a great way to address housing need in smaller, more rural towns and villages, but giving greater control to local residents so that any development can be sustainable and assist in its economic stability by helping local people to remain living in the village where they grew up.”

This is a multi-agency development with many authorities supporting the project, including Teignbridge District Council who sold the land to the CCLT for £1 and are funding £210k, the Homes and Communities Agency are providing a grant worth £488k and Dartmoor National Park as the planning authority.

Cllr John Goodey, Teignbridge District Council’s executive spokesman for housing and planning, said: “This is a wonderful example of how we can all work together to make sure as many new homes as possible are affordable and sustainable. Teignbridge takes a very dynamic, innovative approach to how it delivers housing and is proud to be part of this important project. It ticks all the boxes in that it gives local people the homes they want and need, supports communities and takes into account new, emerging standards of environmentally friendly ways of building homes.”

Peter Harper, Chairman of Dartmoor National Park Authority said: “DNPA is proud to have been part of this forward thinking development in Christow. As the planning authority, we worked very closely with the community to achieve a scheme which meets a local need for affordable housing whilst also pushing for the highest standards of environmental building. The scheme is a great example of what good development in the Dartmoor National Park can look like, and is a credit to the hard work of the Community Land Trust”.

What is a Community Land Trust?
A Community Land Trust is an ‘all village’ organisation. They are set up to benefit the local community and anyone living in that village can join with a membership fee, in Christow’s case, this is £1. It is managed on a voluntary basis by a local committee and any income made will pay for the trusts running costs and any surpluses will be re-invested to benefit the village.

Christow Community Land Trust will own the land and Teign Housing will lease it from them and pay a ground rent. Teign Housing will be financing and maintaining the scheme.

The land had previously been used as agricultural land by a local farmer for the grazing of his cattle. Christow Community Land Trust working alongside Teign Housing approached the Teignbridge about developing this site for affordable housing. In October 2013 Teignbridge transferred the freehold title of the land at Layne Fields to Teign Housing and Christow Community Land Trust for a nominal sum of £1.