Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Land trusts proposed in radical rural plans

Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Radical proposals for the establishment of community land trusts (CLTs) and development trusts are included in a new manifesto for rural development.

The Manifesto for Rural Development will have its Irish launch in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, today.

The document was drawn up after consultation with 44 rural organisations across Ireland and Britain, and is designed as a development blueprint for rural communities.

Seamus Boland, of Irish Rural Link (IRL), one of the key drivers of the manifesto, said the community land trust model is ideal for rural areas in post-boom Ireland.

"In the wake of the collapse in the construction industry these trusts could have a role to play in providing affordable housing locally and ensuring NAMA works with communities in areas with large numbers of vacant houses or zoned land," he said.

Community land trusts and development trusts are non-profit, community-based organisations established to acquire fixed assets and hold them in perpetuity for local use and are a feature of community life in Britain.

They often run shops, community facilities, develop vacant sites or manage housing developments.

IRL, Tipperary Institute and the Village Cloughjordan project have teamed up with the Carnegie UK Trust to develop the manifesto.

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While tackling the broad range of issues facing rural communities, the document also looks at ways to integrate agriculture into the wider rural economy in the face of declining numbers of farmers.

Mr Boland pointed out that the manifesto identified a clear role for community development as a key partner in developing the future of agriculture.

"Community and enterprise are indivisible in rural areas and if one suffers, so will the other. All rural assets must be combined and made to work together," he said.

Irish Independent