SCATA and Karbon Homes - Northumberland

A community led partnership with a housing association



  • Development partnerships between community groups and housing associations are a rarity in the north of England. An award-winning community-led initiative in a commuter village just 15 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne, where no affordable homes had been built for nearly 30 years, shows how a ‘partnership of equals’ can produce multiple benefits
  • SCATA is a community land trust, set up by the local Community Association in 2011. Through a successful partnership with Isos Housing (now Karbon Homes) it completed a development of 7 new homes in 2015 on land purchased by and for the community. The Partnership Agreement, set out below, explains how the scheme was delivered


Heads of Terms of a Partnership Agreement between SCATA and Isos Housing

This document set out the nature of a mutually supportive working relationship between SCATA and Isos Housing. By working in partnership SCATA and Isos Housing plan to provide much needed affordable homes for people with a connection to the parish of Broomley & Stocksfield. In terms of this agreement the term ‘affordable’ means property let at 80% of a full market rent.

To ensure a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities the contents of this document will need to be agreed by the directors of SCATA and by Isos Housing Ltd. They will then, in due course, be formalised by SCATA and Isos Housing through a Partnership Agreement; a lease and a Local Lettings Plan (to form part of a Section 106 Planning Agreement).


The Sites

SCATA has reached an agreement to buy a site in Guessburn, currently owned by the trustees of Stocksfield Snooker Club, for a value agreed by Isos Housing, keeping this land in perpetuity for the benefit of the community.

SCATA has also reached agreement with Stocksfield Scouts to transfer a small part of their land to SCATA to facilitate the development of the site. In return SCATA has agreed to provide an easement over their land to provide occasional vehicular access to their Scout Hut. Purchase of this site is subject to planning permission being obtained and sufficient funding being available to complete the scheme.

Broomley and Stocksfield Parish Council have agreed to transfer, at nil cost, the site of the former Branch End toilets to SCATA, following an asset transfer of this site from Northumberland County Council.

SCATA has explained to the all the landowners that Isos Housing will develop seven affordable homes for rent under a long-term (125 year) lease. Isos will bring to this project its expertise and reputation in financing, building and managing these homes.  The homes will be let to local people following procedures set out in the Local Lettings Plan. The lease will contain a lease back option in favour of SCATA which will be cost neutral to Isos Housing. A ground rent will be paid by Isos Housing to SCATA.


Developing the homes

Isos Housing will be responsible for the development process – from carrying out feasibility work in relation to both sites to the appointment of consultants and contractors. Isos will also raise the necessary finance in the form of grants and loans for the project. Isos will consult with SCATA at key points throughout the process.

SCATA and Isos will discuss and agree a set of social impact requirements for the scheme. This will include green design elements and the employment of local tradesmen through the construction process.

Before submitting a planning application SCATA and Isos will jointly arrange at least one drop-in session for the wider community to express their views on the proposals. SCATA accepts that, because Isos Housing is bearing the risks and costs of development as well as the long term management of the homes, it will need to ensure that the scheme is financially viable.


Letting the homes

SCATA and Isos Housing will work with Northumberland County Council to draw up a Section 106 Agreement. This will include a Local Lettings Policy which will ensure that preference for the affordable homes is given to people with a local connection to Broomley & Stocksfield. The details of this policy are set out in the Local Lettings Plan

In accordance with the terms of a Partnership Agreement as properties become available for rent Isos will notify SCATA who will ensure that people with a local connection know how to apply and register their name with Northumberland County Council. In addition Isos and SCATA will hold an open meeting 6 months before the expected completion date to explain the process for people being considered for a property.

All eligible applicants will be visited by Isos and SCATA to verify their housing need and local connection. Both housing need and local connection will be as

defined in the Local Lettings Policy. Sustainability issues will also be considered, such as a record of anti-social behaviour.

Although all lettings will be made by Isos Housing using the information received from applicants, decisions on individual tenancies will normally be agreed with SCATA and be in accordance with the Local lettings Policy, agreed between SCATA, Isos and Northumberland County Council.

Because funding is being provided by the Homes and Communities Agency lettings will be at an ‘affordable rent’, defined as 80% of market rents and all tenancies will be subject to periodic review.


Other Management Issues

SCATA will notify Isos Housing of any changes to its board of directors. Isos will advise on any substantive changes to its operating arrangements. Isos Housing will provide Performance Reports to SCATA -see Local Lettings Policy.


Financial Arrangements

SCATA accepts that Isos Housing is the major partner in the matter of financing this scheme and building the homes. The community-led nature of this scheme however brings with it additional HCA funding, conditional on the land remaining in community ownership.

Since these are leasehold properties Isos Housing agree to pay an annual ground rent using a formula in use in other regions. The charges will be £4 per unit per week. This equates to £1456 per annum and will be subject to review every 10 years.



Should any disputes arise between SCATA and Isos Housing regarding any aspect of the Partnership Agreement, once signed, that cannot be settled by those with day to day responsibility for  it then a meeting will be held between the chair of SCATA and the chair of Isos Housing  to resolve the matter. If this procedure fails to resolve the matter within 3 months then the dispute will be settled by an independent expert, agreed to by both parties. In the absence of such agreement the independent arbiter shall be appointed by the Chief Executive of Northumberland County Council.


Reviewing the Partnership Agreement

The partnership between Isos Housing and SCATA is intended to stand in perpetuity but may need to be reviewed from time to time. Either Isos Housing or SCATA may give the other notice of this and a review will then take place. Any amendments to the Partnership Agreement must be signed off by both parties.


Published in March 2018