Community led housing is not a new concept and takes many forms. Fortunately there are lots of successful examples of developments to learn from.
Below are some descriptions of different kinds of projects around the country:
Housing Co-operatives involve groups of people who provide and collectively manage affordable homes for themselves as tenants or shared owners. An example in Herefordshire is Earthworm co-operative Housing in Leintwardine. The large house and outbuildings on 7 acres of land is being renovated by ten residents. A housing co-operative is a “non-hierarchical property managagement company”. If you have never heard of “co-operatives’ before, you might want to pop over to here for a very general outline of what it means to be a co-operative. Follow the link for more information on Earthworm.
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Community Land Trusts
Community Land Trusts provide affordable homes for local people in need by acquiring land and holding it as a community asset in perpetuity. A successful example of this is Bishops Castle Community Land Trust in Shropshire. In 2011 they built two homes for young local people in need of affordable accommodation.
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Cohousing schemes involve groups of like-minded people who come together to provide self-contained, private homes for themselves, but manage their scheme together and share activities, often in a communal space The Threshold Centre is one such project which has a total of 14 homes half of which are for rent/shared ownership.
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Tenant Management Organisations
Tenant Management Organisations provide social housing tenants with collective responsibility for managing and maintaining their homes through an agreement with their council or housing association landlord.
A good example is Bushbury Hill estate, Wolverhampton where tenants manage a council owned estate of 840 homes.
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Self-help Housing Projects
Self-help housing projects involve small, community-based organisations bringing empty properties back into use, often without mainstream funding, with a strong emphasis on construction skills training and support.
LATCH (Leeds Action To Create Homes Limited) was estabilshed in 1989 and brings empty and run-down homes back into use. It refurbishes the houses with unemployed volunteers, helping them to gain skills, confidence and work experience. When the homes are fully modernised, they provide supported housing for people who are homeless or in housing need.
Community self-build involves groups of local people in housing need building homes for themselves with external support and managing the process collectively. The West Street project began in 2010, as a collaboration with Knightstone Housing Association and GCP Chartered Architects. The scheme trained homeless ex-service personnel and in the process built a community whose members gained new skills and qualifications and met like-minded people. The Homes and Communities Agency provided £660,000 of funding to help kick-start the project, which features fourteen homes for social rent.
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Community Custom Build
Custom build is when people are able to specify an individual home through a more ‘hands-off’ journey, where an enabling developer delivers a spectrum of services – from just creating a serviced-plot right through to delivering a complete bespoke turnkey home for an individual or group of individuals. A good example of this is Bristol CLT at Fishponds.
Built on land acquired from Bristol City Council, homes are a mix of shared ownership and affordable rent. The emphasis was on creating an affordable and highly community-focused development, and each resident had to be a member of the CLT, becoming invested in the scheme and the CLT’s ethos. Residents played an active role in the design phase and were also able to self-finish their homes, sharing the work to complete kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and more.
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