Housing for Local People — The Beginning

Abbotts Ann Village land Marks

Could this have been one of the largest village meeting ever?  On Thursday 19th January 125 people packed the Village School Hall to hear proposals for a small development of homes by the village for the village.

As they arrived they were offered a drink and invited to inspect the exhibition stands in the centre of the room.

Then, as they took their seats around tables, the presentation gave details of what it is all about:

  • Last year’s housing needs survey showed significant demand for both affordable housing and for housing for people to downsize. A development of fifteen homes is proposed. People were reassured to be told that this is nothing whatever to do with the large development which Richborough tried to impose on the village last year, indeed it may well make such developments much less likely in the future.
  • There are good reasons for such a development in our community – keeping people in our community by providing affordable homes, which makes possible continuity down the generations; strengthening the institutions we value – shop, school, pub, and church; and not letting money be the only qualification for living in our village – the argument for fairness.
  • Those attending were pleased to hear that everything possible will be done to ensure that the homes built will remain within the control of the village by setting up a Community Land Trust. For more information about CLTs see: http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/what-is-a-clt
  • Many people came with the question ‘where will they be built?’ and were pleased to hear that there is a carefully thought-out process for identifying and acquiring a site, which will include consulting the village. This consultation began at the meeting as people were invited to give their priorities for selecting the site (everything from its impact on the village scene to the cost of the land – if you took away a ‘Comparison Points’ sheet and/or a map for marking potential sites please return it to the Village Shop; if you were not able to attend the meeting, sheets are available from the Village Shop.

The meeting was then thrown open for a wide-ranging question and answer session which demonstrated the level of interest in the project. Ray Lucas was able to reassure everyone that the development is by the village for village people and that everything possible will be done to keep the homes in the ownership of the village in perpetuity. Whilst questions were thoughtful and perceptive, no opposition was expressed to the scheme proposed.

The Steering Group is delighted that a dozen people indicated that they would like to help in a variety of ways to take this project forward. If, reading this, you would like to help, please contact Ray Lucas.

We shall keep the village informed of developments through magazine, website, and village email and by mail-outs to those who left their contact details at the meeting.