Glendale Gateway Trust, Northumberland

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Glendale Gateway Trust, Wooler, Northumberland

GGT is based in the market town of Wooler, a gateway to the Cheviot Hills and a centre for tourism activity. The Trust is a great example of a community organisation taking a central role in local regeneration. The trust is managed by local people with some support from the Development Trust Association and has carried numerous projects which have revitalised the community and the economy. By acquiring derelict land owned by an absentee landlord it has developed a mix of assets including 4 affordable rented homes, three retail units, the youth hostel and its first project - the community hub and managed workspace.

The Trust dealt successfully with with an absentee property owner in gaining ownership of unoccupied shops and the site behind which turned around the fortunes of the high street. Of great interest is the effect of less restrictive planning policies within town boundaries, combined with lightly regulated sources of grant funding that have enabled GGT to be so creative and effective.

This holistic approach means that shops are occupied, the retail quality has improved (including those premises not managed by the Trust), and one family and a number of young people have a secure tenancy in a town of escalating prices. The local YHA has been renovated and has increased the number of overnight stays and the town has a focal point for community activities and employment and social advice. The Trust also facilitated a significant housing development in the centre of the town, through the acquisition and sale of land to a housing association and negotiation of temporary access for the construction phase.  Founder member Tom Johnston reports that when applying the M3 local economic multiplier, use of local suppliers and builders meant that the housing budget of £280,000 produced a value to the local economy of over £800,000. The District Council provided a grant of some £40,000 towards housing renovation, but now receive over £20,000pa in new council tax receipts from the scheme.  This has stirred the Trust to take a greater role in housing in the future and shows how communities can be dynamic players in their own regeneration.


Cumbria group visits Glendale Gateway Trust 25th February

In response to requests from Carlisle City Council and other communities the CRHT Community Land Trust Officer arranged a visit Glendale Gateway Trust (GGT) in Northumberland. Community members and officers attended from Allerdale, Carlisle area, Eden District, South Lakes, the Lake District National Park, as well as Peter White from Dumphries & Galloway Housing Trust. This included communities beginning to set up Community Land Trusts in Cumbria such as the Ellen Valley Trust, Crosby Ravensworth & Hawkshead.

Tom Johnston made everyone welcome with teas and coffees and gave an excellent illustrated talk describing how the Trust formed from a Market Towns Initiative and determination gradually paid off. There followed a tour of the town to view the buildings now owned by the community. Tom explained how GGT funded these projects by catching under spend from organisations such as the Regional Development Agency


  • 75% financial independence through income from assets.
  • Creation of the Cheviot Centre community hub and managed workspaces.
  • Acquisition of large town centre site owned by absentee landowner leading to: transforming 4 empty flats above shops into rented homes for local people; 3 empty high street retail units renovated and occupied improving the retail quality of the town; 1 family house renovated and locally occupied; land unlocked for 22 town centre Housing Association homes.
  • Taking over high street premises of a defunct charity and transforming into a youth drop in centre.
  • Preservation of the town youth hostel catering for 5,500 visitors a year with associated tourism impact on the economy.
  • Making a building available to a Housing Association for accommodation for local young people.
  • Plans to further increase their role providing secure local housing tenancies.
  • Potential to become a development hub for the rural area.
  • Use of local suppliers and builder’s means that the housing budget of £280,000 produced a value to the local economy of over £800,000.
  • The District Council who provided a grant of some £40,000 towards housing renovation now receives over £20,000pa in new council tax receipts from the scheme.



GGT has demonstrated how community organisations can enable the design and provision of housing and ensure the local allocation of homes. These successes have stirred the Trust to take a greater role in housing in the future.




This project is part financed by the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas with Defra as the Managing Authority.