Wilsford villagers build their own affordable homes

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Villagers have taken it into their own hands to provide affordable housing in Wilsford, near Ancaster.

Faced with the loss of young people from the village and local services, they set up a Community Land Trust and they now own 10 affordable family homes that will be rented to people who live or work in the community for generations to come.

Lincolnshire County Council released a site in Wilsford, next to the village hall, and North Kesteven District Council topped up the funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to build the homes.

A similar scheme has been set up in Pinchbeck.

The schemes are being built in partnership with Lincolnshire Rural Housing Association (LRHA), which will manage the homes on behalf of the 
trusts. Westleigh Homes is building the houses in Wilsford and worked closely with the land trust on the design of the buildings.

John Mather, of Lincolnshire Community Land Trust, which supported the villagers through the whole scheme, said: “I have been delighted to be able to support the people of Wilsford and Pinchbeck achieve their ambition of providing badly needed affordable homes – a wonderful legacy that shows the power of community group action.

“From the first inkling of an idea through to the homes being built, both communities have been supported by Lincolnshire Community Land Trust. It provides hands-on advice and guidance to any community wanting to have ownership and control of 
assets that will benefit their residents. This may be affordable housing, but equally it could be a pub or allotments or any land or buildings important to the community.”

In Lincolnshire and other largely rural counties there is a significant lack of affordable housing. In these areas wages tend to be low.

Figures from the National Housing Federation show that the average house in Lincolnshire now costs more than eight times average local wages.

John Howes, chief executive of LRHA added: “LRHA has always been committed to providing high quality affordable homes in the county’s villages and market towns, but working this closely with communities and seeing them take the lead has been inspirational. I am looking forward to others following the path blazed by Wilsford and Pinchbeck.”