Communities urged to follow Wooler’s example on housing

Glendale Gateway Trust (GGT) director Tom Johnston
Glendale Gateway Trust (GGT) director Tom Johnston

The exciting possibilities of community-led housing have been extolled by a director of the Glendale Gateway Trust.

Tom Johnston is working with Community Action Northumberland (CAN) to develop Communities CAN, a community led-housing hub, which will help identify towns and villages where there is an interest in community-led housing schemes.

It is hoped they could work towards addressing the need for affordable housing in rural and coastal communities where there are high numbers of second homes.

Speaking at a meeting of Berwick Town Council, he said: “In Glendale, we have 18 houses and get about £70,000 a year in rent. That has sustained us as an organisation and means we are not knocking on the county council’s door.

“We started in 2004 with flats above shops for young people but since the sheltered housing was closed, we also have houses for older people close to the high street. The most exciting thing for me is that the £70,000 we get is directed back into the local community. It breaks my heart when you see some community associations bringing in men from somewhere like South Shields to fix a tap.”

Coun Karin Graham said she thought it was an excellent idea and hoped it could work in Berwick.

Northumberland County Council was awarded a £1.3million Community Housing Fund from the Government earlier this year.