The Trust carried out a Housing Needs Survey in November 2016 and 28.7% of the households in Pill & Easton-in-Gordano and Abbots Leigh responded. The survey aimed to gain an indication of the need for affordable housing from people with a local connection to the villages; to investigate the housing need and aspirations of older residents; and to establish the general level of support for a small development of affordable housing for local people.
The survey provided a snap shot of the housing situation in the parishes, which will change over time as a result of the economic climate, demographic changes and changes in individuals’ circumstances. It has identified:
- The need for 29 affordable rented homes over the next five years (2 of which are needed for elderly person households);
- An additional 10 households which need intermediate property (shared ownership);
- A potential need from 13 further households which did not provide adequate information.
71% of the households which responded to the survey (whether they had a housing need or not) would support a small development of affordable homes for local people. Download a copy of the Survey.
Pill and District Community Land Trust (PDCLT) is a Community Land Trust (CLT), a not-for-profit organisation set up to acquire assets on behalf of the local community and hold those assets in perpetuity for the benefit of the local community. The PDCLT is a legally incorporated Community Benefit Society offering local people (residents or workers) the opportunity to become members and to control the Trust. Though a CLT works closely with its local parish council(s) it is not subject to any formal control from local councils – district or parish.
PDCLT has a small executive board with powers to manage the business and finance of the CLT subject to the wishes of the wider membership. The objects, all for the benefit of the local community, include
- maintaining/improving physical, social, economic infrastructure;
- advancing community enterprise; and
- supporting the arts locally and promote and protect local heritage.
It may fulfil these aims by providing housing for those in need, developing local services, installing renewable energy or operating local amenities.
The CLT will covers the two parishes of Easton-in Gordano and Pill and Abbots Leigh and has its office at the Pill Resource Centre. Its establishment was guided and facilitated by the Wessex Community Land Trust project which has already helped to establish sixteen CLTs in Somerset, Devon and Dorset. Its Chair is Donald Davies (District Councillor) and Murray Stewart represents Abbots Leigh.
Easton in Gordano/Pill and Abbots Leigh are distinct communities but have a much shared interest - both lie within the Green Belt, both face traffic and transport issues along the A369, and both involve the River Avon Trail.
- Both parishes are under threat from major housing development (South West Spatial Strategy 2016-36) with ‘Pill’ (which includes parts of Abbots Leigh) identified as a potential growth area. The two parish councils have already collaborated in writing a joint letter to protect Green Belt status, in commenting on the Spatial Strategy, and in seeking permission to prepare a joint Neighbourhood Plan.
- Whilst the immediate initial purpose of the PDCLT is housing for local Pill needs, there may also be housing needs for local families in Abbots Leigh (e.g for younger families, older families seeking smaller houses.