Plans for social housing in Salcombe have been revoked after landowners suddenly pulled out of the project, which has been in the works for the past four years.
Despite extensive negotiations for the purchase of land to provide affordable housing for the community of Salcombe, the Trustees of Salcombe Community Land Trust (CLT) were informed on Tuesday, October 24, that the landowners had decided to pull out of the project and withdraw the land offered for sale.
Salcombe CLT was formed to provide locally affordable rental housing for Salcombe.
From 2013, the parish of Salcombe was working on its Neighbourhood Development Plan, and a Housing Needs Survey found that more affordable housing is needed in the parish. The amount of second homes in Salcombe means that local people are struggling to find affordable accommodation, and Salcombe CLT wanted to rectify this. Thus, the trust has been focusing on providing rental housing with Aster Housing Association, prioritising local residents. The Trustees were taken by surprise and expressed their disappointment at this sudden termination to negotiations that had been ongoing for 4 years. No definitive reason has been given for the decision.
The Trustees are saddened that so much public money has already been spent on this project. The comprehensive feasibility study, community consultation, and the planning application have been financed by over £110,000 of taxpayer’s money through Homes England and £25,000 directly from South Hams District Council.
“We just don’t understand,” said Nikki Turton, Chair of the Salcombe Community Land Trust.
“We believed that we as the CLT alongside our partner housing association, Aster Group, had addressed all the legal concerns raised by the landowners over the last four years so we really don’t understand why, at the eleventh hour, they have changed their minds. We are now worried for the local community which has been waiting for this development, which was to be comprised entirely of social rented properties for locals, built and maintained by Aster. We will now take stock and consider carefully what we do next as a CLT.”