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Big Society At Work

Pioneering Community Housing Project Secures £2m Funding From Ethical Bank Triodos

06-01-2011 | A pioneering community-led village development to provide homes, jobs and facilities in Devon has secured a £2m loan from Triodos Bank. Finance from the bank will enable construction to start on phase one of the 7.2 ha development.

The funding from Triodos will enable High Bickington Community Property Trust to begin the first phase of a flagship Community Land Trust development of affordable housing, workspaces and a renewable energy plant.

The second phase will see the development of a community building, playing fields and the building of infrastructure for a new primary school that will also have a multi-use games area.  In addition a site is being retained for a possible future health centre and a community woodland has already been planted and is being well used by the local community.  Future phases will see the building of market sale housing that will enable the repayment of loans and underpin the future financial viability of the affordable housing and community facilities being provided.

The project is a key demonstration of the government's localism and big society agendas and it will have a considerable impact within the local community. Aiming to provide a model approach for others to follow, it is one of just 13 Community Land Trusts in the UK, with a further six in the process of being established. Triodos Bank has agreed funding for one of these and is in ongoing discussions with a number of the others.

The trust, which has around 200 members in the village, identified affordable housing as a local priority and worked with partners, including the local Parish and County Councils, to develop proposals and secure planning permission for this community-owned project to be developed.

The development of the affordable housing offers a mid-way point between social housing and open market housing, specifically targeted at local people on low incomes who have a direct connection and input to the community. Some units will be sold on a shared equity basis and the remainder, let to local people, will allow them to remain in an area where they might otherwise be priced out of the market. This proven need for affordable housing will increase as property prices start to move upwards.

Charles Middleton, Triodos Bank's UK managing director, said: "This is a significant loan for Triodos and a flagship project within the scope of the new political landscape. It is a project we are delighted to be able to support, using our collective experience to get it off the ground. It has been a lengthy process getting to this stage, so all credit goes to HBCPT for its perseverance and proactive approach. We look forward to supporting more projects of this nature as the localism agenda really takes hold."

David Brown, Chairman of the High Bickington Community Property Trust, added: "It's fantastic that work is about to start on the development of these much needed new homes after all the effort the local community and the partners have put into this.

"High Bickington is a small village with a big vision. We are working with partners to bring our vision for the future of the village to life, for the benefit of those who live here. There is still a lot of work to do before the homes become a reality, but we are delighted to have got to this stage and are grateful to all parties for their support in getting us to this point."

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) was one of a number of funders and community organisations involved in the project, investing £360,000 in the first phase of the development and working with the trust to get the project to this stage.

Colin Molton, HCA director with responsibility for investment in the South West, said: "This project is evidence of what can be delivered when local people deliver a clear vision for their community and enlist the support of partners to make it happen. I'm delighted that we have been able to play our role in delivering this scheme and helping High Bickington lead the localism agenda, in a real and vivid way."

To find out more about Triodos Bank and its range of banking services for ethical businesses and charities, and savings and investments for individuals, visit www.triodos.co.uk or call 0500 008 720 free.

Notes for editors:
About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank only finances Loan customers creating social, environmental or cultural added value - ranging from large ethical Loan customers to smaller, innovative organisations meeting local needs. Key sectors include organic food and farming, renewable energy, social housing and fair trade. Transparency is a core value: customers are informed about the bank's lending and can target their savings to particular areas of investment. A range of personal savings accounts is offered and full banking services are available for businesses and charities.

For more information please call Will Ferguson or Lisa Stanley on 0117 980 9770 / 9721 or e-mail william.ferguson@triodos.co.uk / lisa.stanley@triodos.co.uk

About High Bickington Community Property Trust

High Bickington Community Property Trust is a not-for-profit Industrial and Provident Society which operates under the National Housing Federation's model rules. It has over 200 individual shareholder members and Devon County Council and High Bickington Parish Council as corporate members.

For more information, visit http://www.highbickington.org/links

The 18 homes that are being developed on the site include seven properties to rental, nine to part own with an equity mortgage product and two to buy outright. 

About HCA

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England.  Our vision is to create opportunity for people to live in homes they can afford in places they want to live, by enabling local authorities and communities to deliver the ambition they have for their own areas. 

For more information visit the HCA newsroom at homesandcommunities.co.uk/newsevent

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