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Bigger boost for Beer families with housing grant

PUBLISHED: 13:09 14 July 2014

Building work at Beer C.L.T. is well underway. Allwood Timber Construction workers, Aaron Wicks, Kevin Hardy, Dean Newman and Rob Graham. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shb 7035-27-14AW

Building work at Beer C.L.T. is well underway. Allwood Timber Construction workers, Aaron Wicks, Kevin Hardy, Dean Newman and Rob Graham. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shb 7035-27-14AW

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Even more Beer families are set to benefit after a project to build houses that will stay in residents’ ownership in perpetuity won an £80,000 grant.

Building work at Beer C.L.T. is well underway. Allwood Timber Construction workers, Aaron Wicks, Kevin Hardy, Dean Newman and Rob Graham. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shb 7024-27-14AWBuilding work at Beer C.L.T. is well underway. Allwood Timber Construction workers, Aaron Wicks, Kevin Hardy, Dean Newman and Rob Graham. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shb 7024-27-14AW

The new funding will mean all seven of the Beer Community Land Trust (CLT) dwellings will be affordable homes – meaning they will all be safeguarded from being sold on as holiday properties.

Bosses hope the model could lead the way for future building projects and prove a viable alternative to council or social housing.

The CLT’s Geoff Pook said: “This is great news as it means none of the houses will have to be sold on the open market, thereby safeguarding them for people with local connections living and working in the area.

“While we appreciate that Beer is a tourist destination and the tourism income is very important to the village, retaining homes for full-time occupancy by locals is just as important as providing holiday homes and we can now be sure these homes will always be fully occupied by local families.”

The homes will be sold as part-equity properties or rented out by Beer CLT.

Interest is growing as the Quarry Lane construction work becomes a reality, with as many as 27 Beer families on the list at any one time.

Colyton-based Northcott Building Contractors are taking the project through to completion and the first residents could be in before Christmas.

Geoff, who campaigned for his district council role on an affordable housing ticket, added: “So far, all is going well and we’re setting a bit of a record for getting the project from the drawing board to build.”

The CLT was last year awarded a £1million loan from East Devon District Council.

It also won a grant of £179,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Once finalised – subject to the CLT being awarded ‘registered provider’ status – the recent £80,000 will take its total contribution to the project to more than a quarter of a million pounds.

The original plan was to part-fund the project by selling off a number of the houses on the open market but that would have lost control over their occupancy.

Residents have to be a member of the CLT to express an interest in one of the houses.

For more information, email Geoff at: g.pook@outlook.com.

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