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Community land trusts (CLTs) are locally-based not-for-profit organisations that own land and property in trust for the benefit of a defined community. These organisations work on the basis that housing remains affordable. Land and any subsidies or planning gain remain with the trust to ensure long-term affordability for local people. Already well-established in the USA, CLTs are increasingly recognised as one possible solution to the problem of unaffordable housing in the UK. CLTs also encourage active citizenship by giving local people collective control of decisions in relation to land and assets.

In 2005, our consultation at Windsor Castle explored how to widen the use of CLTs in the UK. The subsequent report, Redefining the Commons, contains recommendations to support the growth of CLTs in the UK, and was one of the first reports on Community Land Trusts in England. The recommendations provided the impetus for continued work on fostering the development of this sector, and led to a number of further advances. This included the work of Community Finance Solutions (based at the University of Salford) on sharing good practice, lobbying and training for wider recognition. This process led to a ‘national demonstration programme’ which ran a series of pilot CLTs. One of the outcomes of this was the establishment (in 2010) of a national representative body to support the ongoing and future development of CLTs, which took the form of the National CLT Network.

Other work carried out by World Habitat in relation to CLTs includes our evidence to the Affordable Rural Housing Commission on the role of Community Land Trusts (2006); our briefing paper on the potential of Community Land Trusts to the Shared Equity Taskforce (2006); and a joint World Habitat/ National Housing Federation briefing paper for the Labour Sustainable Communities Commission (2007).

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