Direct action by communities brings affordable homes to villages in Lincolnshire

Local people in Wilsford, near Sleaford; and Pinchbeck, near Spalding, have taken direct action to provide much needed affordable housing in their villages. It is not only London that suffers from a lack of affordable housing. Here in Lincolnshire low wages in rural areas means that it too is experiencing an affordability crisis. Figures from the National Housing Federation show that the average house in Lincolnshire now costs more than 8 times average local wages.

Faced with the loss of young people and local services Pinchbeck and Wilsford decided they would do something about it. They have set up their own Community Land Trusts and between them they will own 24 affordable homes that will be rented by people who live or work in their community, now and for generations to come.

Their energy and drive has brought others on board. In Wilsford, Lincolnshire County Council released a site and North Kesteven District Council have topped up the funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to build the homes. In Pinchbeck the houses are being built on land made available by the Parish Council.

Both the schemes are being built in partnership with Lincolnshire Rural Housing Association who will manage the homes on behalf of the village CLTs; regional builder Westleigh Homes is undertaking the construction and worked closely with both CLTs on the design of the homes.

From the first inkling of an idea through to the homes being built both communities have been supported by Lincolnshire Community Land Trust. It provides hands on advice and guidance to any community wanting to have ownership and control of assets that will benefit their residents. This may be affordable housing, but equally it could be a pub or allotments or any land or buildings important to the community.

John Mather, facilitator, for Lincolnshire Community Land Trust said, “I have been delighted to be able to support the people of Wilsford and Pinchbeck achieve their ambition of providing badly needed affordable homes – a wonderful legacy that shows the power of community group action”

John Howes, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Rural Housing Association added, “LRHA has always been committed to providing high quality affordable homes in the county’s villages and market towns, but working this closely with communities and seeing them take the lead has been inspirational. I am looking forward to others following the path blazed by Wilsford and Pinchbeck.”