A scheme to provide affordable housing 'owned and run by Knaresborough, for Knaresborough' could soon be a reality.
The official launch of the Knaresborough Community Land Trust takes place on Friday, October 19, 7.30pm at Knaresborough House, with a showcase of it's plans to provide homes for people who live and work in Knaresborough.
Offering residents the chance to join as a members of the trust the evening is an opportunity for them shape it's plans for the future.
Emma Walsh, Chair of the CLT said: “This is a chance for us to make a real difference to the lives of people who live and work in Knaresborough but who may find themselves priced out of the rental or the buying market.
"With the support of our fantastic community, we can make affordable housing that is owned and run by Knaresborough for Knaresborough a reality.
"We hope everyone will take the time to join us as members and help to shape the future of our town.”
The launch event is an opportunity for residents to tell the Trust what kind of housing is needed. Those who do join having a say in how the work is carried out with, every member having an equal vote.
Work began on the trust six months ago, following consultation on the town's Neighbourhood Development Plan - a legal document which could be consulted through to 2035 on all planning applications for sites in the town.
It was found that more affordable homes were needed in Knaresborough, for people ranging from younger residents looking for their first step on the property ladder, to workers in the town who have to commute in.
The Trust is now ready to launch, having received support from the National Community Land Trust Network Start Up fund, and Harrogate Borough Council's Community Led Housing Fund.
In the future the Trust could consider a share offer, as a way of raising investment funds.
Talks are currently underway to secure land in the town for the initial units of housing which would be for rent. As the Trust's supply of housing grows some units could also be put up for sale.
Managed by the Trust the housing would remain 'owned by the community', the trust being registered as a Community Benefit Society in June means the properties fall under an 'asset lock.'
Incorporation as a CBS also gives the Trust a number of opportunities for how it could approach providing housing. This could potentially include combined residential and shop units in it's housing stock.
In the future the trust has said it is eyeing the possibility of working with Harrogate Borough Council to address the issue of empty shops on Knaresborough's High Street, refurbishing and bringing back vital commercial and residential space into use.
Membership of the trust is free, although donations can be made on the evening.