Homebaked Community Land Trust (CLT) objects to the use, in a recent article in the Liverpool Echo, of the word ‘hipster’ to describe our recent planning application in both the title and body of the article. The likely implication of such language for many readers is that our initiative is not rooted in the local area but instead a form of gentrification brought in from the outside. It is important for all the local people who came up with these plans and have fought for the refurbishment of these houses for over 5 years to emphasise that we are a locally rooted initiative that is working to develop and protect our neighbourhood through community ownership and decision making…
Homebaked CLT is run by local residents who, in the face of stalled regeneration schemes came together in 2012 to form a community land trust, a not-for-profit membership organisation whose structure enables us to take matters into our own hands regarding the regeneration of parts of Oakfield Rd and hold land and buildings in community ownership. We are not interested in private profit, but in creating a better place for ourselves and protecting our homes and amenities from speculators. Land and buildings will be in community ownership, allowing us to keep rents affordable and secure in the long-term for both tenants and local business. Our allocations process will focus on local people and local and social enterprise.
The designs for the planning application that the Echo wrote about were developed by over 70 local residents between the age of 12 and 75 through in-depth workshops and drop-in sessions with architect Marianne Heaslip from URBED. Through this consultation, it was clear how important it is to people to protect the heritage of our area and keep the frontage intact. Other priorities were to fully retrofit the homes to a high environmental standard and protect tenants from fuel poverty. A range of people have invested countless hours of volunteer time to make this happen. Offering quality affordable houses for rent is the main aim of this scheme.
Also included in the plans is the provision of some commercial space which it is hoped will be adopted by local and social businesses and add to the impressive success of our sister organisation Homebaked Co-operative Bakery. The bakery is a community-owned co-operative that provides 18 jobs (15 of which are held by people from the immediate area), genuinely affordable bread and other staple goods and spends approximately £ 130K per year with local suppliers, benefiting many other local businesses.
Homegrown Collective, another sister organisation referenced in the article, is a group of local women who started a gardening and growing project on an unused piece of land on our high street and are now developing a not-for-profit social business that will both develop the proud tradition of female brewers whilst offering space for people to meet. As their plans develop, the use of the social space is to be determined by other people from within the local community.
The development of this scheme is funded via the Homes England Community Housing Fund and Power to Change. Our initiative will hopefully bring a significant investment into our neighbourhood, making our home an even better place to live and developing vital local expertise (shared freely with other initiatives and individuals) which lay the foundations for sustainable neighbourhood development – for the people, by the people.