Thank you all who could make it to the meeting today. We were all excited about the potential of the project, but agreed that we need to focus on some practical elements in order to make it possible.
I have attached the slide show that I referred to in the meeting for everyone’s reference.
Some points from the meeting:
Some must haves/ must have nots for people to join the community were – Non dogmatic, multigenerational including children.
Emily Mulvaney from the greater Cambridge Partnership who is a specialist in community housing, funding has joined our group as a professional advisor, and is excited about the project. She will help with business planning, grant and loan application and liaising with councils and planner.
For those that were at the meeting – all were in favour of moving towards purchasing (making an offer for) the Landbeach site in order to make the vision a reality.
We discussed a finance model for how all community members can contribute to their personal living place and common areas called Mutual Home Ownership (MHO) Please see ** below for details.
In brief MHO is:The group take out a CLT mortgage to buy the freehold of the site, and create a leasehold.This leasehold is shared between the members of the community, who buy into the lease either by cash or cash and rent. The dwelling that an individual or family selects on the site has a set value, and determines the amount of cash and rent to be paid, and it includes access to all common areas.If you have enough funds you can use cash to pay the full amount, otherwise you can make ‘rent’ payments toward the CLT mortgage. This allows for people to join the community without large amounts of cash.
Anyone’s leaseholding can be sold and the capital returned, but not any interest paid.It is dependent on having an adequate amount of people putting in cash in order to make it viable.We are exploring a mortgage for the initial purchase, but we require cash contributions as they may not finance 100%. After this point, ideally we would be like to split most of the cost between 12 or 13 individuals or families in order to repay this mortgage or make it small enough that it is not a burden for anyone, with a mix of cash and rent (which is put towards the mortgage)
The most urgent actions were determined by the group to be:1. All those who are in favour of the Landbeach site:a. Please nominate 3 preferred days and times to meet for a group viewing next week – I will send a form from the agent that you need. After this we really need a commitment of intention to join as a pioneer member – there are potentially 13-14 spaces for individuals and families. Please email me by monday 24th May.b. Please fill in the updated Registration form, including details of how much money you have available down towards your place within the community, and when you might have access to these funds. What skills, time and commitment you have to help as a pioneer of this project.
2. Planninga. In order to occupy all the dwellings on the site, we need to employ a local planning advisor to work with our eco-village planning advisor (James Shorten who is in Devon). We need to raise about £2000 for the initial work of this advisor. Please do make a contribution if this feels right to you. We are applying for grant funding for 90% of all planning costs moving forward, but in the first instance we need to make initial enquiries and proposals to the council.The main issues are -The Waterside lodges are currently under planning for holiday lets (2 week stay maximum per individual)The cottages at the front of the property are under a holiday let for 11 months and 2 weeks per year.We need to apply for conversion to residential use for the lodges, but it should be fairly simple to change the cottage use.We need to look at the conversion of some of the lodges, cottages to accommodate further space for families.
3. Help is needed a. Marketingb. finances/ planning/ business planningc. Fund raisingd. Anything else!Please do contact me if you would like to get involved.
In Health and Happiness
……..** This is the model that is used in Trelay co-housing eco-village, which set up in a very similar way. https://www.trelay.org/information-for-people-wanting-to-join-trelay-june-2020/A community member makes a financial commitment to a property, either in the form of cash or by sharing our mortgage. We do not rent spaces here, we all “buy-in” to Trelay.
Simply put, each of our living spaces has a value that includes a share of the land and communal buildings. You put in the agreed value as cash that is available to you. Technically your capital is a loan against the living space (we call it an “equity loan agreement”).
If you don’t have enough capital, you take on a “mortgage commitment” and agree to make a monthly payment for part of the mortgage we already have. A share of it is made available to incoming members where possible.
When you want to leave, you get your money back when a new person is found to come in and join the community and take on the financial commitment on that space (similar to selling a house that you own). If you have taken responsibility for part of the mortgage, you will also get back most of the capital you have paid to reduce the mortgage loan, minus the interest payments which Triodos keeps.
This Trelay Mutual Home Ownership (TMHO) model is exciting and pioneering. It enables people with less capital than others to share our mortgage and thus to “buy in” to Trelay. However, it does depend on having a fairly high proportion of our residents putting in capital, otherwise, the whole thing is not financially viable.
At the moment, the property available may need a small capital input, as well as an ability to take on your share of the mortgage moving forward.
Under TMHO, because we all own everything, where you live is flexible. You can move into one space and then (by agreement with the community) move over to another space that suits you better, with a suitable adjustment to your equity loan agreement, but no stamp duty or solicitor’s fees. Over the last 13 years we have found that people have often moved to Trelay into a living space which is not their favourite, then moved when the one they really wanted becomes free.
Residents whether on the way to joining or full members, pay a monthly service charge which we agree between ourselves. This is currently £165 per month per adult and pays for electricity, gas, logs, water, insurance, repairs of commonly owned property such a lawnmowers and gardening equipment and part of the mortgage for communal spaces. The service charge is set yearly by consensus decision.
On top of this, Council Tax is payable by each member. We pay for communal food separately.
To summarise, as a resident you will pay:
- Your mortgage contribution for your living unit, unless you have paid TMHO fully as a capital contribution
- Service Charge, fixed until changed by communal consent, currently £162/ adult/ month
- Council Tax: fixed by the local council and specific to your living space, circa £100/month
- Communal Food: depends on how many communal meals you have per month
You should bear in mind that your only other major outgoing, which is 110% up to you but is quite hard to avoid will be your vehicle or car that you use.