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CLH 246Community-led housing - policy and case studies 

From a report by The Commission on Community-Led Housing

The Commission, set up by the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network, has produced a report on why and how councils are enabling and supporting community-led housing (CLH), together with case studies on some local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales.

Community led housing (CLH) involves local people in playing a leading and lasting role in solving housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities. It can involve building new homes, returning empty homes to use and managing existing homes. Approaches include housing co-ops, community land trusts (CLTs), tenant management organisations (TMOs), cohousing, community self-build schemes and self-help housing groups that renew empty homes.

The report finds that local authorities across the country are working with communities to develop housing and return empty homes to use. They do so because CLH helps them to achieve strategic priorities such as improving housing supply, providing permanently affordable housing, regenerating neighbourhoods, and empowering communities to become more sustainable and self-reliant. In addition, there is much good practice to be shared on how local authorities can encourage and enable CLH to develop in different housing markets.

CLH also brings resources into the area - DCLG’s Community Housing Fund is providing £60m a year of revenue and capital funding for CLH in England over the 2016/20 period. The Welsh Government has a cooperative housing programme. Community-led builders can access mainstream funding from affordable housing programmes in England, Scotland and Wales.

Community-led groups bring in significant resources not accessible to other housing providers through commercial and social lenders, charitable funds, crowdfunding, community bond issues and, in selfbuild schemes, their members’ own labour. CLH schemes can produce a social return through using local labour and supply chains. They create local jobs in building industry. They can increase confidence in a local area and attract investment.

Local Councils need to:

  • Lead through a political champion and an officer champion to link up the ambition with the authority’s strategy and processes across the organisation.
  • Create policy - CLH schemes as part of approach to affordable housing delivery, an empty property strategy, an allocations policy that identifies potential CLH residents from households in housing need.
  • Make land available through planning policy
  • Sell or transfer Council assets 
  • Fund through various schemes
  • Support, advise, connect, raise awareness

The report contains case studies from the following towns/areas:

  • Leeds
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Bristol
  • Hull
  • Rochdale
  • Stevenage
  • Cornwall
  • Redditch
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Lewisham
  • Liverpool
  • Chichester
  • Croydon
  • Greater London Authority
  • East Cambridgeshire
  • Glasgow

The report is available here.

A CLH Technical Toolkit for local government is being created. This will cover community engagement, planning, funding and legal issues and will provide templates and process maps. It will be available at in March 2018.

See also the blog Self-build housing - a win, win, win?

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From a report by The Commission on Community-Led H, 21/02/2018

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