Rory, following discussions with the Director of the national network of Community Land Trusts Catherine Harrington, has been lobbying Planning Minister Nick Boles to provide more government support and assurances that the growing network – which will see community-led affordable housing projects, such as that in Crosby Ravensworth, flourish – will continue to have the full backing of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Rory – who has been instrumental in piloting some of the country’s most successful national pilots, both in the form of the Crosby Ravensworth CLT model and the Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan – has requested clarity on the Community Infrastructure Levy; better approaches to the freeing up of land by local authorities for the purpose of community-led affordable housing; more seed-corn funding, to help small groups such as the Lyvennet Community Trust to get started; and assurances that the Homes and Communities Agency’s programme in supporting CLTs will continue beyond 2015.

Rory said: “I completely support the excellent work of both the national network and, closer to home, the Cumbria Rural Housing Trust, both of which are doing amazing work in increasing the number of community land trusts in the UK, and helping to get small-scale community-led affordable housing projects off the ground. We have living examples here in Penrith and the Border, of just how effective these mechanisms can be, and government needs to do all it can to support this growth, and harness it as a force for tangible change in our rural communities.”

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