The Old Vicarage Flats

The First Community-Owned Housing Venture in St Ives

“Truly affordable living is vital, particularly with regard to home ownership and/or rental.

Houses in St Ives area should be seen first and foremost as homes rather than investments.”

Extract from St Ives Community Charter 2017.

Creating affordable homes was the key priority for the community of St. Ives as evidenced through the series of public consultation exercises undertaken around the Neighbourhood Plan process during 2014. 

The Old Vicarage Flats will be the first community-led housing project allowing local people to play a leading and lasting role in addressing the housing problems in St Ives.   

This will create genuinely affordable homes in ways that are difficult to achieve through mainstream housing. 

We believe bringing buildings into community ownership is the best way to meet local housing needs.

You can help us now by donating here on this page. There is no minimum donation. Every £1 you donate will help to secure these flats for future generations.  We have donation boxes at outlets throughout the town too.

There is also an exciting opportunity to invest in our project to provide six affordable homes for rent in the town centre by buying community shares from our investment partner, Ethex.

Our objective is to buy and renovate Old Vicarage Flats in Street an Pol, in the centre of the town.  This will provide six vital, permanently affordable homes for key workers and other local people, secured under an asset lock for future generations.

You can help by donating on this page towards the project, or, by investing in our community shares through our partner Ethex.

There is a pressing social need for affordable housing in St Ives.  Purchasing properties for holiday lets has inevitably pushed house prices above the national average, in a place where wages are well below the national average.  This squeezes the housing market for long term residents and local workers.  For a tourist economy to work, all residents must have fair access to good quality accommodation.  

The people of St Ives have a real sense of place and belonging – grounded in a deep connection to the landscape and its past communities. Today, people from families with an unbroken line of living in the town for many generations, now face being the ones to break that bond by having to move to somewhere cheaper to live. 

The neighbourhood plan consultations uncovered many stories of the people who live and work here –

  • local families unable to find affordable, suitable homes; 
  • adult children living with parents despite having good jobs; 
  • employees having to travel long distances to work; 
  • rental properties only available out of season or for short lets, and local people eventually giving up and moving away.

The Plan’s housing objective is 

“to support the provision of affordable and principal residence housing so that the St Ives area continues to be a place where people of all ages can live and work”.

The Old Vicarage Flats development presents the first opportunity for us as a community to really begin to deliver on our housing objectives. 

Bringing buildings into or back into community ownership presents an exciting but culturally sensitive way of delivering local housing needs. 

It is fulfilling the neighbourhood plan, produced and supported by so many local people. 

You can download information here.

Once acquired through a combination of community share investment capital, donations, grant aid and a long-term social investment mortgage, the flats will be remodelled and renovated to a good standard of environmental sustainability, given the age and structural demands of the building.  As a result, tenants will enjoy lower energy bills and we will have contributed to wider environmental improvement. The flats will be available for rental as affordable housing and protected for the benefit of the community through asset-lock protection in our Rules (available on request).

Our withdrawable share offer:

  • The main focus of our share offer is to raise finance for our first major project, the purchase and the renovation of the Old Vicarage Flats.  The flats will be remodelled and renovated to a good standard of environmental sustainability, in keeping with the age and existing structural demands of the building. 
  • Our minimum fundraising target for the share offer is £170,000.  Our maximum fundraising target for this share offer is £500,000. The share value is £1 per share.
  • The minimum investment amount for investors living within the TR26 postcode area is £100 and for all other investors is £350. 

The projected interest rate is 4%.

The maximum that any individual can invest is £50,000 which is equivalent to 10% of the offer. Organisations may invest above this limit to a maximum holding of £100,000 – please contact us for further information.

Our chosen investment is Ethex, a not for profit positive investment and savings platform. Since 2013, Ethex has helped raise more than £70m for community schemes.

Please invest at Ethex or contact them on 01865 403304 help@ethex.org.uk

This offer is for shares in the withdrawable share capital of St. Ives CLT.  It is being offered subject to the following conditions:

  • the only way of an investor getting his/her money back is by selling shares back to the society, they cannot be sold to another person,
  • that six months notice has to be given to the Board of the intention to withdraw share capital, that Board members may have the right to refuse requests for withdrawal if such a withdrawal would cause
    financial hardship to St Ives CLT and its projects,
  • shares may not be withdrawn until three years after the close of the offer period.
  • shares will not increase in value.

As with any share investment, please note that your capital is at risk if you invest in this share offer. If you invest, you may lose some or all of the money that you invest.

As a community benefit society, St Ives Community Land Trust Ltd is registered with, but not authorised or regulated by, the Financial Conduct Authority and therefore any money you may pay for shares is not safeguarded by any depositor protection or dispute resolution scheme. In particular, you have no right of complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, nor any access or entitlement to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.