The Housing Commission on Community-Led Housing, a Co-operative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) initiative, has published Community-led Housing: a Key Role for Local Authorities to support councils bringing on community-led housing.
The report summarises the benefits and potential of community-led housing, including cohousing and collective custom build, as a route to additionality, illustrating to councils the realities of the model, backed up with a range of case studies.
The idea behind the report is that it can demonstrate and support councils wanting to back community-led housing models, with examples of funding available to support this.
It sets out how CLH can help local authorities achieve their strategic priorities and gives examples of how councils can enable or support it.
12 case studies are included in the report, which illustrate different examples of how councils are supporting local community-led initiatives, putting people at the heart of the planning system.
Written from the local authorities’ viewpoint, the report argues that community-led housing (CLH) should be ‘added to the strategic mix’ to increase the supply of homes that local people can afford.
There is no one model that fits all, and situations and circumstances will vary with each site and group, but it illustrates that CLH makes a valuable contribution. And this can be through a range of models, whether through new build homes, returning empty properties to use or introducing CLH into the management of existing homes. While not typically at scale, these projects offer innovation and dynamism often lacking elsewhere in the market.
Set up in September 2016 by the Cooperative Councils’ Innovation Network’s Housing Commission aims to encourage and enable local authorities to foster and support co-operative and community-led solutions to the housing crisis.
It draws on a pool of talent from local authorities, campaigning and support organisations, policy experts and leaders of community-led organisations.
Councillor Sharon Taylor OBE, Chair of the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network, and Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, which commissioned the report, said “The 12 different case studies show that there’s no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to generating community-led housing.
“Housing is at a crisis point in the UK. Too often we hear that people are caught in the private rental trap or unable to get on to the housing ladder.
“Enabling communities to create affordable homes is something that local councils can do, and this report provides real examples of how to do it. We’re encouraging all councils to commit to supporting the development of more community-led housing”.
Councillor Tony Newman, Chair of the Commission and Leader of Croydon Council said: “The housing markets across the UK are failing to meet the needs of local communities. We are advocating community-led housing because we recognise the shortage of public sector resources for housing.
“We need to harness communities’ local knowledge, commitment and resources in order to generate affordable housing. We have brought together examples of good practice and innovation by councils across the country. Our report adopts a practical approach to enable other authorities to follow this lead and support community-led housing.”
This report is a welcome and timely practical guide for local authorities. Community-led projects are gaining traction, both locally and among Government, for the benefits they deliver at a local level.
It should be enabled as an additional source of housing with its roots firmly in affordability and community. And to do this, we need understanding, which this report helps engender.