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AGM 16th October 2015

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Summary of Annual General Meeting held on 16th October 2015

The CLT’s Annual General Meeting was held in the Forbes Lounge of Hemyock Parish Hall on Friday 16th October. Chair of the Trust Heather Stallard reported on a year of activity for the Directors including contributing to a Wessex Community Assets research report carried out by Dr Tom Moore of Sheffield University. The report studied the motivation of people who join CLTs and their aspirations for the organisation. Summary copies of the report were handed out to members attending. The main points of discussion in the meeting concerned the implications of the government’s extension of the Right To Buy to tenants of housing associations and possible future projects for the Trust. Ever since the Conservative election manifesto promised to extend the Right To Buy to tenants of Housing Association homes the CLT’s Directors have been concerned about the impact of this upon our Griffin Close development in Hemyock. The idea that the twelve affordable homes for local people in perpetuity that we had worked so hard to obtain could be taken away by the government appalled us all. The Trust’s Directors and Secretary have engaged in lobbying our local MPs and through them the Minister of State for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis. We have also worked with the Wessex CLT Project and Hastoe Housing Association in further lobbying. The government’s original plan was to include the extended Right To Buy within the Housing Bill that is currently going through parliament, but this has been replaced by a voluntary agreement between the government and the National Housing Federation (which represents the 534 housing associations in the UK). Under the agreement tenants of housing association homes will receive the Right To Buy but the association will have the discretion not to sell a particular property but to offer the tenants an alternative property elsewhere. Examples of circumstances where housing associations may exercise discretion over sales include: • Properties in rural locations as defined by Section 17 of the Housing Act 1996. This would generally mean properties in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and places that have been designated as rural by the Government (places with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants • Properties held in a Community Land Trust. On the face of it, this is a big relief for the Trust but we will wait to see how this works in practice……... Mid Devon District Council’s Local Plan Review has resulted in several developers seeking inclusion of housing developments around Hemyock. It was agreed that it would be undesirable for any new developments to be for open market housing only. The Trust’s directors are keeping a close eye on this and will lobby for and seek to be involved with any affordable homes that may materialise as a result. Neil Punnett Secretary