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Somerset Co-operative Community Land Trust

What they do

Somerset Co-operative Community Land Trust (SCCLT) is a community benefit society looking to raise finance to progress the development of a community-led approach to creating more affordable housing in Somerset.

The project

The primary focus of this share offer is to raise finance for Somerset Co-operative CLT's purchase of 11A East Reach - a property adjacent to the CLT's offices.

If it raises above its minimum target (i.e. the finance that is required to progress with purchasing 11A East Reach) the CLT will purchase the land behind the property, which is also for sale. SCCLT would use this land to develop three flats, as well as contribute more land to its urban farming project. The flats will be made available for affordable rental and sale – and through their role as a Community Land Trust for Somerset the Society will ensure that these homes are available for affordable housing in perpetuity. 

If SCCLT reaches the maximum target, it will employ funds to purchase additional property, but will only do so in the short term if there is a reliable and committed income stream that will immediately cover the cost of interest (or in the longer term, as the result of member consultation, fresh business planning and negotiation of further long term finance).

About Somerset Co-operative CLT

Somerset Co-operative CLT was set up in 2009, but became active in 2011 when Somerset Co-operative Services CIC began working closely with Taunton Transition Town to develop a housing and community enterprise project for a property in Taunton town centre.

One project fell through, but by then the society had sufficient support and momentum that it could transfer its attention to a different site: 10 East Reach, a listed building on a busy shopping street and main thoroughfare. The property purchase was concluded in October 2013, and SCCLT immediately sought planning permission for conversion of the building into flats. That was wholly successful and construction began in 2014, with the first tenants moving in a year later in 2015. 

The model SCCLT has developed includes a number of innovative features – the use of community shares in distinct classes, the high degree of tenant participation, the regular social impact reporting, and the focus on community enterprise alongside affordable housing. SCCLT hopes these will be replicated in towns across the UK – seeing this as a local project with potentially national significance.

This current offer by Somerset Co-operative CLT  has been awarded the Community Shares Standard Mark by the Community Shares Unit, which is awarded to offers that meet national standards of good practice.

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