Frequently Asked Questions

We were registered as an Industrial and Provident society in December 2004 and have been meeting regularly ever since (read more about who we are). In June 2008 we began the process of acquiring a small piece of land in Cumnor Parish (read more under Projects). We aim to build half a dozen affordable homes on this land once Thames Water has replaced the current sewage system. We hope this will be done by 2012.


Meantime we continue to meet and look for other suitable pieces of land for the Land Trust. If you know of any suitable piece of land which could be donated or even for which we would have to pay, please contact us. If you have land or buildings that you would consider donating or bequesting to OCLT please contact us.


A CLT organisation is set up by a local group of people who get together to DO something to ensure there are more affordable assets for that community.  These could be for housing, workspace, food production or leisure. There are various legal mechanisms which can underpin this. OCLT is an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community.  


There are other legal structures that also enable assets to be locked in.  Some CLTs have been established as Community Interest Companies, Charitable Trusts or Companies Limited by Guarantee in which the assets are protected by explicit legal conditions on their occupancy or use.


The CLT acquires local assets. This can be by a number of means, ideally through donation but often it means the CLT has to raise the money in loans, grants, investments (community investments are becoming increasingly popular) or other means. This aspect of the project is probably the most challenging particularly as land becomes ever more scarce and expensive.


Once it has acquired the land, it works with the local community to manage and utilise the land for the benefit of the local community (link to national website?).


One of the biggest needs, even in this time of recession, is to provide land for affordable housing. Increasing numbers of working people find it difficult or impossible to find a secure and affordable place to live. There is also a great shortage of social housing and many working families have no access to them. (read more section to include stats about numbers waiting in Oxon, ratios of average price to av earnings). CLTs offer a way to provide permanently affordable land (it is permanently owned by the community so doesn’t keep going up in value) for housing and other local needs.


There is also evidence of a shortage of agricultural land for young farmers and horticulturalists in a time when food security is becoming more challenging. OCLT has links with the Campaign for Real Farming and is interested in using the CLT mechanism to secure a small mixed farm in the county for permanently affordable local food production. CLTs offer a means of permanent community control of some local pockets of land which might be used for farming or horticulture.


Looking more widely at the issues of access to land, current trends suggest that land will become ever more unaffordable and the reality of home ownership and small scale food production will become an even harder goal.

In 1970, the average house price (more accurately, it is the land on which it stands which increases in value) was £4,400. Now it's about £180,000, an average rise of 9% a year.


Even agricultural prices have increased (state facts).


These are all clear arguments for building up community owned assets which cannot be sold and which remain in the local community’s control in perpetuity. The Community Land Trust is the perfect mechanism to ensure that this happens.


In 2008 an official definition of Community Land Trusts was laid out in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, Part 2, Chapter 1, Clause 79. This says that a Community Land Trust is a corporate body which:


1) is established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental interests of a local community by acquiring and managing land and other assets in order:

– to provide a benefit to the local community

– to ensure that the assets are not sold or developed except in a manner which the trust’s members think benefits the local community


2) is established under arrangements which are expressly designed to ensure that:

– any profits from its activities will be used to benefit the local community (without by being paid directly to members)

– individuals who live or work in the specified area have the opportunity to become members of the trust (whether or not others can also become members)

– the members of a trust control it.


A Housing Co-operative is a group of people who, together, manage and control the homes they live in.


A Co-op is different from a Housing Association / Council in that most of the work of running the co-op is done by the tenants themselves. Housing Co-ops are about more than just housing people. Most people like to feel they are a community.



Being a tenant of a co-op is more than just paying rent and reporting repairs. It also involves taking part in the running of the co-op, contributing to the decision making by attending meetings which are held regularly and by doing some of the work involved in carrying out those decisions.


Taking part in decision making gives you more say and more control over the service you receive. How many times have you thought that a repair would have been carried out differently if you were paying the bill? With Housing Co-operatives, through your rent you are.



Before moving into the Co-operative you must buy a £1 share. This is your membership of the Housing Co-operative and allows you all the rights and privileges that members of Housing Co-operatives enjoy.

These include:

  • The right to a property.
  • The right to Vote at meetings.
  • The right to decide what sort of service should be provided and how.
  • The right to be involved.


No, you can determine how quickly repairs should be carried out and who by, but most Co-operatives choose to use contractors to actually carry out the work.


Co-operatives help train members and they also use professionals for the donkeywork, but also REMEMBER… The best people to decide anything about a house are the people that live in it…. YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT.



Only people who would be categorised as being in housing need through Vale’s local housing waiting list.



Housing Co-ops give people a chance to become involved in the house they live in, and to take part in all discussions and decisions that affect their home.


Obviously, this only works if members take the trouble to turn up to meetings and to find out what is going on. This is new in Oxford. In Birmingham where this is well established they typically have meetings about once a month for a couple of hours.


If someone is not interested in coming to meetings and putting a bit of time and effort to make things right, then they may be better off in a Council or Housing Association tenancy.


So, a Co-op is aimed at those interested in finding out more about what is going on; who want to have a say in what happens to their house or flat; and who are prepared to join together to make the Co-op work.


  • Be prepared to come to meetings. A Co-op can not run well or in some circumstances even survive without members putting some effort into it.
  • Be prepared to learn how Co-ops work by talking to people from other Co-ops.
  • Be honest about why you want to join a housing Co-operative.
  • Be prepared to share responsibilities and decision making at committee and general meetings. Most important of all, attend the meetings.