The National CLT Network, the UK Cohousing Network and CDS Cooperatives have agreed a new formal collaboration to support community-led housing in the UK. With a shared commitment to alternative housing supply, the three organisations will provide a more unified form of support for groups, local authorities and housing associations.
Community-led housing offers groups the chance to have an affordable home that they have a say in the design, build and management of, such as Broadhempston CLT in Devon, pictured.
“We want community-led housing to be an option that is widely and easily available. Through collaboration, we aim to be more effective, sharing premises, people, skills and technology, where the roles and functions are very similar across our three organisations.
“This releases time, energy and resources to support the mainstream development of community-led housing locally, quickly and at scale,” said Anna Kear, Executive Director of the UK Cohousing Network.
“One of our key objectives is to capture the amazing creativity that already exists in this sector by investing in research and development.
“This will include using our own skills, extending collaboration with others and building partnerships that can help to de-risk community housing options and thus mobilise the market to be more effective for everyone who wants a good home,” said Catherine Harrington, Director of the National CLT Network.
The news follows the announcement of a new £60 million Community Housing Fund by the government in December. The fund is to help communities struggling with the problem of excessive second-home ownership, a particular problem in the South West. Specifically, this crowds out first time buyers from the local market, many of which stand empty for most of the year.
The fund is focused on providing an income stream for local groups to deliver affordable housing. The new collaboration from the housing groups will help provide the support to some of these groups, to help make community housing happen at a local level, both in areas affected by second homes and nationwide.
“One of the things we are keen to support is an easy access point for anyone beginning to explore this approach – something that helps people to find out about the many different forms of community led housing and how they can work together.
“Increasingly groups want and need hybrid solutions. This could be to build homes on land owned by a community land trust to ensure permanent affordability, to have shared community facilities and mutual support based on cohousing principles to be run and managed on cooperative principles,” said Linda Wallace, Chief Executive of CDS Cooperatives.
Working together comes up again and again when discussing custom build. This collaboration is a blueprint for how local authorities could work together by sharing resources and staff to bring on a more diversified alternative housing supply. I urge LAs to make the most of what this collaboration can offer, to bring on their own CLT and cohousing projects.