24 August 2016
The meeting discussed that a Community Land Trust must conform to a legal definition, and that this limited the choice of legal forms available to adopt. The CLT must be incorporated, be not-for-profit, own assets for the benefit of a defined community, be open to membership for those living and working in the defined community, and be controlled by the members.
The three legal forms that are suitable are a Company Ltd by Guarantee with charitable status, a Community Interest Company, and a Community Benefit Society. The steering group considered that as the CLT may want to own assets for the benefit of the community other than just housing in the future (e.g. village shop, pub or orchard), then the most flexible legal form should be chosen – the Community Benefit Society.
Community Benefit Societies are controlled by members standing for, and voting for, the Board of the Society. The Board then have a responsibility to make the operational decisions of the Society, and act in the best interests of the whole community (not just the members).