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Many local authorities across England and Wales are now promoting and supporting community-led housing. Research for the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network’s Commission on Co-operative and Community Led Housing found that local authorities have differing levels of knowledge, understanding and expertise about community-led housing, whilst the time and resources they can devote to it also varies widely. There are important differences between local authorities with high or low housing demand, urban or rural contexts and available publicly-owned housing stock and land.

Local authorities that are promoting and/or supporting community-led housing do so in a variety of innovative ways:

  • By initiating the development of community-led housing schemes themselves, working with housing associations and local communities
  • By making community-led housing a priority in their corporate plan
  • By developing a supportive policy environment across departments
  • By identifying a senior officer or cabinet member as a community-led housing champion
  • By employing a dedicated Community Housing Officer or Enabler to act as a focal point
  • By drafting procurement policies and frameworks that give community-led housing providers the opportunity to bid to develop part or all of a site
  • By drafting asset disposal policies that recognise that ‘best consideration’ rules allow authorities to dispose of assets at below market value to support community-led and other affordable housing schemes
  • By making available small publicly-owned sites specifically for community-led developers and small and medium builders to bid for
  • By drafting planning policies to give a measure of priority to community-led housing schemes
  • By providing revenue grants and loans, particularly for start up and the pre-planning phases of community-led housing schemes
  • By providing capital loans and grants through the Community Housing Fund, Section 106, New Homes Bonus, Right to Buy and other receipts, to part fund community-led housing schemes
  • By mapping demand or commissioning scoping studies
  • By working with the voluntary sector to provide community development support to groups interested in community-led housing
  • By helping to establish independent technical support hubs where they do not currently exist
  • By expanding their Custom and Self Build Registers to cover all forms of community-led housing
  • By making use of in-house development companies to buy and hold land or buildings and pursue joint opportunities with local communities
  • By partnering up with other local authorities to pool Community Housing Fund allocations or set up a revolving land bank with this or other funding
  • By working with housing associations and other developers to deliver community-led housing schemes through partnerships

Local authorities with an interest in community-led housing provision have been encouraged by the CCIN Housing Commission to sign a Pledge, to demonstrate their interest and support. A template of the Pledge can be found here.

Last updated in May 2018