Another way to create affordable and sustainable homes

Rob Shaw

As a society we’ve been failing to build enough houses of the right kind for several decades. We’ve left it to private companies and that has failed. We’re all familiar with the consequences – increased house prices and rental costs, homelessness, insecurity and residents with no say in how their homes are built and managed. On top of this, the homes that are built are typically expensive to heat and not fit for purpose in the face of a climate emergency.

Crystal Palace Community Land Trust

Crystal Palace Community Land Trust (CPCLT), which is linked to the Crystal Palace Transition Town, has been established to tackle these problems head-on. A group of residents in the Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood area have come together with a shared belief that not only do things need to change, but that a different model exists for creating high quality affordable homes for people in the area.

The Community Land Trust (CLT) model is very different to that of the traditional private sector or even the public sector. They are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.

CPCLT has successfully bid to develop a small piece of land on The Lawns, using this model. We are aiming for:

  1. Homes that are as-affordable as possible, and kept affordable for ever.
  2. Local residents from diverse backgrounds to participate in the design and delivery process.
  3. Homes that are highly sustainable, with an aspiration towards Passivhaus Standards and low car use.
  4. Improved green space for existing and future residents, with a community garden.
  5. Volunteering, training and jobs for local residents and firms, not just in the delivery of homes but in community activities, such as gardening.

The site has some very considerable challenges to overcome, not least its small size and sloping terrain, the proximity to existing homes and an ancient Oak that once formed part of the Great North Wood, and lack of parking and accessibility to shops and busses.

Our team has experience in many of the disciplines needed to make this a success but we are also drawing on some of the expertise of Croydon Council and their own Brick-by-Brick housing company. So far, we have spoken with existing residents and held a consultation event. We have begun to develop some early ideas and are looking to work with the community to create the project brief, which we will work up into a planning application during 2020.

This is a hugely exciting project for the area, and one we hope will be replicated on other sites. If you are local to the area and would like to get involved, we’d love to hear from you

Rob Shaw

Rob Shaw

Crystal Palace Community Land Trust

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3 thoughts on “Another way to create affordable and sustainable homes

  1. Well done Rob. This is a fantastic initiative and it’s humbling that talented volunteers like you are giving your time to this.

    We face a climate emergency and need to do more to address this and fast.

    We need more like this in the South of the Borough. I’m sure there must be people with the skills and drive to deliver this type of alternative solution …?!

    Well done you (and team)!

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