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Work starts on "ground-breaking" community housing

A "ground-breaking" housing development has started construction in Northumberland, according to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The £900,000 estate will consist of seven affordable homes on two brownfield sites in Stocksfield, which has been made possible through £364,000 of HCA funding. According to the organisation, the development is being led by a local community group, making it one of the first of its kind in the country. Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm (SCATA) partnered with Isos, a social housing provider, to deliver the initiative as a Community Land Trust (CLT). SCATA was founded in 2012 and this was the association's first major project. While the properties will be owned by SCATA, Isos will provide funding for the project and manage the homes on long leases. Vince Walsh, development and regeneration manager at Isos, described the development as important for Stocksfield and the area in general. "The community here has taken a positive approach, recognising the need for more affordable homes, and demonstrating how building those homes can have wider benefits too," he stated. SCATA chair Pete Duncan agreed, saying it was a "win-win project" for the village by building on previously used land rather than green belt areas. "As a not-for-profit community business, our role is to help meet local needs and plough back as much as we can into projects and programmes which directly benefit the local community," he said. In addition to the new homes, £100,000 from the sale of the land will be re-invested into major refurbishment work for the local cricket club.The HCA said the north-east has been at the forefront of promoting CLTs to free up affordable housing for people in rural regions. There are already CLTs on Holy Island and the town of Wooler, but the Stocksfield development is the first in the Tyne Valley. Karen Anderson, area manager at the HCA, said the partnership between Isos and SCATA has "worked brilliantly" having being underpinned by her organisation's investment.  

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