What is Forest CLT?
Forest CLT is a Community Land Trust with the mission of creating truly affordable, community-led housing in Waltham Forest to help our community to be sustainable and resilient both socially and environmentally. We are a lively and growing membership society, with members from all different backgrounds and financial circumstances. Many people are involved with the aim of solving their own and their community’s housing problems. Others are local professionals and supporters who share the CLT’s commitment to community empowerment, affordable housing and low environmental impact, and want to contribute their time, skills and knowledge.
Who owns and runs Forest CLT?
There is no ‘owner’, the membership controls Forest CLT and elects a board each year to run it. Anyone can get involved and shape the project.
Do you make a profit?
No, Forest CLT is a not-for-profit organisation. We need to break even and make a small surplus to stay operating, but none of this can be transferred outside the CLT to individual people or companies, and any surplus is reinvested into our mission to serve the community of Waltham Forest.
Can I be a member?
Yes! You can be a member whether or not you are interested in a Forest CLT home yourself. Membership costs £1.40 and you can donate more if you wish. All donations support our mission for truly affordable and sustainable communities in the borough.
How many homes does Forest CLT want to build?
In the short term we are developing a pilot project with a small number of homes and engaging the council on larger plans for around 50-75 CLT homes as part of the council’s Low Hall Depot redevelopment. Our longer term vision sees Community Land Trust homes in communities across the borough, and we are always looking at possible sites.
Will you build houses or flats?
For reasons of financial viability the majority of the homes will be generously sized apartments rather than houses, but it may be possible to include some two-storey homes. All homes will have a balcony or terrace as well as shared gardens.
Am I eligible for a home?
Our members have worked together with experts to prepare a draft Allocations Policy setting out who will be eligible for a Forest CLT home. We have also discussed this with the council’s housing department. We expect that eligibility will be based on having a connection to Waltham Forest, meeting affordability criteria depending on the type and size of home applied for, being a member of the CLT and making contributions to local community or charitable activities. You can find more detail on the Housing page of our website.
Can I rent or buy?
Both! Our mission is to provide truly affordable homes for a range of people and families, including homes for social rent and affordable ownership, based on local ‘median’ (average) incomes. All homes will remain affordable in perpetuity, which means if you buy one and its value increases you won’t be able to sell it for a large profit, so it remains affordable for the next person.
How long will the rental tenancies be?
Our aim is for lifetime tenancies so that you can rent with Forest CLT for as long as you wish, as long as you meet the criteria. For social rented homes the tenancies will depend on our negotiations with the council.
Who will my landlord be?
Our plan is that your landlord will be Forest CLT, so each project will be managed by Forest CLT with the help of professional managers where helpful. There will be opportunities for self management by residents working together, for example in gardening, everyday maintenance and running community spaces.
How big will the homes be?
This depends on the project, including the financial viability. For smaller projects including our pilot site the homes will generally be one and two-beds, in order to make the project viable and fundable. In larger projects we aim to provide a range of one-bed to four-bed homes and we have a vision for larger shared homes for teens and young adults, supporting their growth into adulthood.
How much will it cost to live here?
Our policy is that homes, whether for rent or ownership, are affordable to individuals and families earning the ‘median’ (average) income in the borough, with low-cost rent homes available for lower earners with the rent similar to council rent levels. The median individual income in the borough at the current time is around £28,000 per year. We are proposing several tenures suitable for a wide range of incomes.
Do I need a deposit?
You do not need a deposit for rental homes. For ownership homes you will typically need a 10-15% deposit of the total sale price.
Have you got some land?
We don’t have land secured yet but we are negotiating with Waltham Forest Council for a small part of the Low Hall Depot site, next to Barn Croft School in Walthamstow. We are also bidding for a small site on Claude Road in Leyton and exploring other sites with the council.
Will I have to actually build it myself?
No, you won’t need to literally build yourself, the CLT will employ a contractor to construct the project. But there will be opportunities for self-build of community space and gardens, and for self-finishing of your own home including decorating and installing internal fixtures and fittings.
How do I get involved?
Whether you are looking for a home in the borough, to help on the project, donate or share knowledge or skills or just become a part of an ever-growing conscious community in Waltham Forest then there is a place for you in Forest CLT. Please sign up to be a member here or come along to one of our regular meetings and events.