Background of project:
In October 2010 Cherry Willingham Parish Council approached Community Lincs with a view to developing a Community Led Plan (CLP). In November 2010 a local developer, through West Lindsey District Council, commissioned Community Lincs to carry out a full Affordable Housing Needs Survey in the village. Housing and in particular the provision of affordable housing, is a significant part of any CLP, so the timing could not have been better.
The Housing Needs Survey was carried out in partnership with the Parish Council during February 2011 and the results showed a need for a small number of affordable homes for local people who were unable to afford to access the private market. The survey and report also produced a wealth of data and information concerning the housing market in Cherry Willingham and the population profile.
The CLP process started in March with an open event held in conjunction with the Annual Parish Meeting. The Parish Council used the Cherry Willingham News which is distributed to every household in the village as a vehicle to promote CLP and to invite residents along to hear more about the process and how they could be involved. On the night a number of local people had been inspired by what they had seen and heard and decided to volunteer for the Steering Group, a date was set for April for the first steering group meeting.
The Parish Council have recognised the value of the data collected as part of the Housing Needs Survey and will be using it to contribute towards the development of the CLP. In the meantime the Parish Council are giving their views on sites with in Cherry Willingham that may be suitable for the construction of the much-needed affordable homes.
This is an excellent example showing how the CLP process and the identification of affordable housing need can proceed in tandem, with the full ownership of the Parish Council.
The Housing Needs Survey will bring about action to secure affordable housing for the village, but also generated valuable data that can be used as part of the CLP process. This is data that would have been extremely time-consuming and/or costly for the community to obtain itself. The (relatively) well-resourced Housing Needs function has produced a report that will contribute directly to the housing elements of the CLP, but which also contains data that will contribute to and inform other aspects of the plan. For example, the CLP Steering Group could choose to use the demographic and income data to plan for different age groups within the community.
The Steering Group are in the early stages of developing a CLP and are working hard to understand the community and its make-up. This will ensure effective and wide consultation can take place to produce useful and robust data to support the actions that the group identify. The steering group are well supported by the Parish Council who understands how important the process is in securing the future of the community whether it is Affordable Housing, Transport or Community Facilities to name a few.