Eastington villagers build homes to protect community’s future

Building work on the site
Image caption The development has so far cost £4m

A group of villagers who successfully fought off plans from commercial developers have begun building their own affordable housing.

Work has started on 23 one and two-bedroom homes in Eastington, near Stroud in Gloucestershire.

Local volunteers formed a Community Land Trust (CLT) and fought off five attempts by developers to build on the land, which they have now bought.

They have gained government new housing funding for the project.

The CLT said the new homes would be affordably rented to locals who might otherwise have to move away from the area.

It has taken seven years for the organisation to win five planning appeals against developers and get government and council funding allowing them to buy the land and put in their own planning application.

The parish council conducted a survey that identified a need for 23 new homes.

The properties will be a mix of bungalows for older people, two-bedroom houses aimed at “hidden families” – where several generations are in one property – and one-bedroom homes.

Image caption “Local people have priority,” said Tom Low, secretary of the Eastington Community Land Trust

Tom Low, one of the volunteers who started the initiative, said: “By building bungalows for older people to downsize into they are leaving three- or four-bedroom houses behind.

“So for the price of a bungalow we’re got a ‘free’ four-bedroom house.”

Mr Low said the new properties would be affordable rented homes.

“Local people have priority… if they come from Eastington, if they work in Eastington, or they have families here already… so that we can rebuild the community.”

Jane Gallifent from the Aster Group, a not-for-profit housing association working with the CLT and managing the new rentals, said: “The homes being built here are based on the housing need within this parish, so they’ve really identified what is needed within the local community and it keeps people here.”

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