Houghton Gardens, Mill Lane, Wickham, Hampshire
Houghton Gardens affordable housing scheme is a partnership between Hyde Housing Association and Wickham Community Land Trust.
Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing (HARAH)
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Wickham Community Land Trust; Hyde Housing Association; Winchester City Council; Wickham Parish Council; HARAH
The scheme was built next to an existing community centre and primary school on a Rural Exception Site. There is also a footpath linking this part of the village to the village centre.
The scheme includes: 12 General Needs properties owned and managed by Hyde Housing Association: 4 x 1 bedroom, 2 person Flats; 2 x 2 bedroom, 3 person Houses; 2 x 2 bedroom, 4 person Houses; 3 x 3 bedroom, 5 person Houses; 1 x 4 bedroom, 6 person House, 4 Intermediate Rent & 4 Shared Ownership properties owned and managed by Wickham Community Land Trust: 4 x 2 bedroom, 3 person Houses; 1 x 2 bedroom, 4 person House; 1 x 3 bedroom, 5 person House; 2 x 1 bedroom, 2 person Flats.
The local authority is Winchester City Council, the scheme was designed by HGP Architects and the contractor was Drew Smith Ltd. The scheme completed in March 2012
All 8 homes owned by the CLT went to households with a qualifying local connection.
The site is in a protected rural area so there is no right to buy on the rental properties and stair-casing on the shared ownership properties is restricted to 80%. The CLT selects for housing those applicants who meet the allocation criteria agreed with Winchester City Council.
Wickham CLT advertises its properties through Wickham Parish Council, local noticeboards, Help to Buy South and its shared ownership properties on Rightmove through a supportive local estate agent.
The CLT is a Registered Provider and has to comply with conditions of HCA grant. Qualifying local connection to Wickham Parish cascades out to neighbouring rural parishes.
This project marks the first time HARAH has worked with an external partner, one with no track record of delivering affordable housing. The idea was instigated by the community.
The existence of the Wickham CLT has created a new model of working for HARAH. HARAH can now help communities achieve their own affordable housing schemes. The Wickham CLT was actually established before Localism, Neighbourhood Planning and the Community Right to Build came into force.
The idea for a CLT in Wickham grew out of a church project which identified a demand for local affordable homes. The CLT was formed as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 2008, registered as a Charity in 2010 and as a Registered Provider in 2012. A partnership approach was taken with the CLT, Parish Council and HARAH to identify potential sites for a scheme.
A suitable and available site was identified on Houghton Gardens. Hyde funded the construction of the 20 homes built. The CLT was able to secure funding enabling it to purchase 8 of these homes. Wickham CLT drew up their own allocation policy with the help of Winchester City Council. A doctor’s surgery was also built on site providing a fully inclusive community project.
The CLT employs a local Estate Agent for the collection of rent and some maintenance matters. The CLT is proud of its ongoing management of the properties being local as it is able to deal with tenant’s issues effectively. The summary of cash flow and Risk Appraisal are discussed at every meeting to ensure that the CLT is on top of its finances.
A housing need survey was conducted in the parish. Wickham CLT interviewed individuals with a stated housing need to gain a greater understanding of people’s incomes. Scrutinising local people’s incomes gave the CLT peace of mind that there was a definite demand for the proposed tenures.
Scheme finance for 20 houses: HCA finance (direct to Hyde) £900,000; HCA finance (to CLT through Hyde) £370,000; WCC loan finance to CLT £50,000; Hyde reserves/loan finance £983,674; Hyde loan finance to CLT £30,288; CLT other loan finance = £738,290; Local donors to the CLT = £17,750
“We moved in August last year, and, it’s, well, I don’t mind saying, but when they handed the keys over I sat on the stairs and balled my eyes out for about half an hour because I just could not believe…, it was amazing.” Astra Cleife, resident