The Trust was set up in 2018, responding to challenges faced by Haddenham village and its local community. Pressure for more housing to support the growing Cambridgeshire population, together with the increasing popularity of the area, had put pressure on house prices, making home ownership increasingly difficult for some longstanding local families.

A key aim of HCLT is to provide affordable housing to local people who may have been priced out of the housing market but who have both the need and desire to live in the villages of Haddenham and Aldreth. Working with local partners, including Haddenham Parish Council, East Cambs District Council, Homes England, Cambs & Peterborough Combined Authority and lending partner Triodos Bank, HCLT has agreed to buy 19 new homes from local developer Palace Green Homes. Once completed, 17 of these homes will be let to local people – offering them high quality, affordable accommodation in their community. A further two properties will be sold for shared ownership.

New homes at HCLT's development

HCLT is owned and run by the community it serves. Anyone can become a member of the organisation for just £1 and have their say in how it operates. It aims to give people who live and work in the area more say in how they want the village to develop and strives to offer benefits to the whole community, for example the new development will include a central play space and plenty of green spaces, designed to encourage plants and animal life.

HCLT’s achievements are impressive given their context. Progress in 2020 was hampered by the pandemic and although planning permission was granted in 2019, work could only start after extensive archaeological survey work was completed at the site, uncovering Romano-British 1st-century remains.

Max and Chloe’s move-in day marked a significant moment for the development, with more tenants receiving their keys in February and March. “It is very exciting to be welcoming our first tenants and seeing the whole site develop to become an attractive, landscaped and family friendly environment,” says Mark Hugo, chair of HCLT. “During these challenging coronavirus times we have only succeeded through hard work, commitment, common sense and mutual support by all parties involved including importantly our members.”

Mark Ogden, relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, worked closely with HCLT to arrange the finance. “It’s great to see HCLT’s vision start to be realised,” comments Mark. “CLT projects like this are an important part of our commitment to support affordable housing, offering options for people in the ‘squeezed middle’ – those who are not able to access social housing but cannot afford to rent or buy under normal circumstances. The idea of community housing is also more accepted by local authorities than it was, gaining momentum as a model that works well and can deliver great results.”

What are community land trusts?

Community land trusts (CLTs) are set up and run by local people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets important to that community, like community enterprises, food growing or workspaces. 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. The National CLT Network is the official charity supporting CLTs in England and Wales.

Triodos Bank has financed a range of CLTs across the country, as part of our commitment to supporting affordable housing projects. To find out more, visit our housing page to find out about the lending that we offer to community initiatives.

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