In August 2020 SCCLT was successful in securing £25k from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) towards the feasibility study for a community energy scheme at the proposed housing development at the old Exmoor Ales site. The aim of the scheme is to generate not only renewable energy but provide other benefits for the community, from the sale of surplus energy. The money raised would be used for community projects - as decided by the local community of Wiveliscombe.
The study will look at:
- Ground source & air heat pumps
- Solar power (PV)
- Solar water heating
- Energy storage (by installing a large battery for example);
- and demand management systems – making the most use of the energy locally rather than feeding back to the national grid, and benefitting local users more, through lower costs.
The study is starting in early December and runs until March, Alongside the technical, financial and legal work will be a consultation on how best a local organisation can take on the community energy facilities and administer the benefits. Further consultation on all aspects will be critical to the success of the project.
The technical appraisal will start once the initial housing designs are available, but discussions have already started with nearby business owners to see if they wish to be part of the scheme. A larger scheme would bring more benefits to the community.
Initially SCCLT will lead on feasibility work, in partnership with Somerset Co-op Services (SCS) and a community steering group.
A community energy scheme is owned and run by the local community. Exactly who that is, and how it runs will be subject to community consultation during the feasibility study.
A community steering group has been set up, but members are welcome. The steering group will oversee the community engagement programme which will start in late November/early December. At a time of Covid restrictions this will be a challenge – so please bear with us.
We need your views on and suggestions on community energy scheme and how it could realise more benefits for the community. We'll be posting information here about how you can have your say or contribute to making this a success -very shortly. Including the dates for our first consultation events and opportunities.
But please do email email@example.com if you have any suggestions, would like to help, or you are interested in finding out more.
The overall scheme
Somerset Cooperative Community Land Trust (SCCLT) has an option agreement for the purchase of the Former Exmoor Ales Premises to provide affordable homes for local people in housing need. The proposed plan is to provide 20-24 affordable homes (predominately 1-bed dwellings) for local people in housing need, with some 2-3 bed homes as well.
In addition, there will be a social/community enterprise incubator hub – to provide opportunities for, and support, and work, training and start-up social businesses and projects.
To help fund this scheme (and another in Taunton) the Land Trust has launched a community share offer. As of 9 November, this has raised over £217,000 in shares and over £135,000 in Loan stock – surpassing the minimum target of £185,000. Further details of the share offer can be found at the SCCLT website, www.somersetcclt.org.uk and the community shares crowdfunding website, www.ethex.org.uk/somersetclt2020 . The Land Trust has extended the share offer until 14 December with the aim of passing its target of £450,000.
About the Community Land Trust
Somerset Co-operative Community Land Trust is a not-for-profit registered community benefit society with an asset lock that means its assets are held in perpetuity for the benefit if the community.
The purpose of the Land Trust is to provide sustainable and affordable homes for people in housing need, and to provide facilities for social/community enterprise – to benefit its residents and the wider community. In this way the CLT helps to provide work, training and support for start-up enterprises with community and/or social benefit.
SCCLT also strives to ensure that young people who rely on income support and only qualify for the Lower Housing Allowance can afford its single accommodation.
These aims lead to real benefits for both SCCLT residents and the surrounding community. For the proposed Wiveliscombe development, for example, these could include – all subject to local consultation and planning permission - in addition to affordable homes for people in housing need:
- a social/community enterprise incubator hub providing opportunities for SCCLT’s residents and the Town
- a shared EV scheme to reduce reliance on fossil fuel vehicles and help address the Climate Emergency - and provide work opportunities
- a community energy scheme to reduce carbon emissions. A benefit not only to the scheme’s residents and community enterprise hub users, but also a benefit for the whole community through income for community projects, and, if feasible, access to renewable energy, and savings on bills