Community-led action: Community-Led Housing

Community-led action: Community-Led Housing
04 July 2017 by Chris Cowcher,

Over the past couple of decades we have heard the many inspirational tales of communities rallying together and saving the village shop, or pub from closing by setting up a community-owned business and running the service for themselves. ACRE Network members and the Plunkett Foundation have supported these groups and promoted their enterprising activity widely. Now there is a growing interest in a similarly collective approach to delivering genuinely affordable housing in rural areas, through the provision of Community-Led Housing.

For many years the Community Land Trust Network and the regional CLT bodies have provided expertise and guidance to local groups considering setting up their own CLT, through to developing a project and becoming a member of the national network. The interest in this form of housing has been raised because earlier this year the Government launched the Community-Housing Fund, and made £60m available to local authorities in areas affected by high levels of second home ownership. The aim was to stimulate interest in communities to take on a greater responsibility for delivering housing, which meets their local need and provide resource to support activity. You can find out if your local authority was one of the recipients of funding by visiting this page.

ACRE Network members across the country have been getting involved with Community-Led Housing and are looking to inspire rural communities in their area to consider whether such a project is suitable for them. Below are just a few examples of some of the Network member’s activities.

  • In Sussex, Action in Rural Sussex (AiRS) is looking to re-define the existing Sussex CLT project into the Sussex Community Housing Hub. They will then be able to provide a local source of technical advice and support new and burgeoning groups including CLTs, Co-housing groups and Co-Operatives.
  • Community Action Northumberland is developing a project which builds on Northumberland’s success in delivering Community-Led Housing, in association with Social Regeneration Consultants, Glendale Gateway Trust and Northumberland County Council. They are at the stage where they’re looking at what support is needed now and how it should be delivered.
  • A recent project run by Community First Yorkshire has successfully raised awareness of and enthusiasm for Community Led Housing across rural North and East Yorkshire. Where there had previously been no developments of this type, the work engaged with a large number of communities and stakeholders to help them understand the opportunities and led to the identification of twelve pilot rural communities who would like to pursue community led housing developments.
  • Community First Oxfordshire is running an event tonight which will invite attendees to get involved with a new research project aimed at identifying how best to support Community-Led Housing projects in the county. They’ll look at how this kind of activity links to the Oxford Local Plan and consider what funding is available for activity.

So, what next? Could your community embark on such an innovative and locally empowering approach to delivering housing? We hope that this blog will help you during Rural Housing Week to link up with those organisations and websites which could help you to explore such a project in your area.