Purpose of the CLT

Why High Ham Parish needs ‘social rent homes’

In these current, uncertain times, people want security in their jobs, their home life and in their housing. The cost of housing can cause stress for many, having a negative impact on their health, relationships and employment. Whether people own or rent, the affordability of their housing plays a vital role in the choices they are able to make for both themselves and their families. In December 2017 the High Ham Parish Council conducted a survey of the parish to identify the number of people in need of local housing, from which it emerged that the provision of six affordable homes to rent would go a long way to fulfilling local housing needs. This was the impetus for the formation of the High Ham Community Land Trust, which aims to provide precisely such homes, which will enable local people to continue to live in their home community.

In 2019 a report by the National Housing Federation stated … ‘More than 8m people in England around 1 in 7 are living in an unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable home…that 340,000 new homes are needed every year, including 145,000 social homes. Now, the National Housing Federation, along with Shelter, Crisis, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Chartered Institute of Housing, is calling on the Government to build these social homes by investing £12.8bn every year for the next decade.

This must include:

  • 90,000 homes for social rent

  • 30,000 homes at intermediate affordable rent

  • 25,000 shared ownership homes

While many people are currently concerned with how they will find a home that is secure, safe and affordable, many have real concerns for their children and their ability to do the same. There is a pressure on many parents to assist their children with financial support to achieve a secure a home of their own. While this will not be a problem for some parents, others simply will not be able to afford it, leaving their children at a disadvantage. Some may even get into debt themselves, just to get their children onto the property ladder. At the time of writing, February 2020, a 2-bedroom late 19th century semi was for sale in the parish for £300,000, and no houses were available for long-term rent.

When owning a home in a rural area is impossible for many, people have to rely on the private rented sector for a home, where costs can be high and tenancies insecure. With more intense competition for these homes, people on lower incomes are priced out of rural communities entirely – forced to move away from friends, families and jobs. Many rural employers struggle to fill vacancies and many communities struggle to sustain basic services such as schools and pubs. It’s a chain reaction that threatens rural life and the survival of some villages.

So, does any of the above apply to the communities of High Ham, Low Ham, Henley, Beer, Picts Hill and Hamdown? It is too easy to say that affording to live in the parish is not an issue; to do this would be to ignore the people who want/need to live in the parish for employment or family reasons, but cannot afford to. It could be said that the last truly affordable homes to be built in High Ham were the council houses on Windmill Road and St Andrew’s Close, the last of them built nearly 60 years ago!

That leaves us with the reality that those who can afford to, move into the parish, and those who cannot, despite being employed locally and/or with close family ties, currently have no choice but to live somewhere where rents are cheaper. However, with the strong support of parish residents, High Ham Community Land Trust was formed, its aim to provide homes for ‘affordable rent’, 6 families will be able to make the choice to live in High Ham.


                       Housing Association homes for social rent in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall