Trust closure: Branscombe homes threat

PUBLISHED: 15:31 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:25 17 June 2010

AFFORDABLE housing in Branscombe is under threat after the trust behind the scheme folded. The Rural Housing Trust (RHT) which was in the process of identifying sites in Branscombe, Colyton and Kilmington announced last week that it has been forced to wi

AFFORDABLE housing in Branscombe is under threat after the trust behind the scheme folded.

The Rural Housing Trust (RHT) which was in the process of identifying sites in Branscombe, Colyton and Kilmington announced last week that it has been forced to "wind down" all activity.

A spokesman for RHT said: "Although demand for affordable rural housing is high and there is potential value in its work, the organisation is unable to withstand the prevailing, difficult trading conditions."

The Trust was in merger discussions since last September but that option was ruled out and it said there was no other "alternative to taking significant cost cutting action".

RHT, which was responsible for the development of affordable housing in Beer completed in 2005, intends to retain its equity it all of its homes.

It specialised in fieldwork which enabled rural exception sites to be developed so that affordable housing could be reserved for local people.

The RHT spokesman added: "Having established a significant pipeline of schemes by working closely with parish councils and landowners in particular, the Trust is concerned that these potential schemes are not abandoned.

"During the winding down process, the Trust will aim to ensure the handover of these schemes to like-minded organisations."

Councillor Mike Green, EDDC ward member for Beer and Branscombe, said: "I am shortly to have a meeting with an alternative provider and am informed that there may be yet another provider who is interested to take up the project to help provide Branscombe with Social Housing.

"I am keen to progress the idea and at the moment am reasonably optimistic that we can find a way forward."

Four affordable houses were built in Branscombe by Sutton Hastow several years ago but RHT found there was a need for more low cost housing.

John Bass, chairman of Branscombe Parish Council, said: "Obviously it is disappointing the Rural Housing Trust is ceasing to be.

"The Trust had run up against problems with finding a site for the housing and that was the last we had heard from them."

"It will be interesting to see if another housing association does come forward and resolve the matter.


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