What is it?

In many parts of the UK, communities are coming together to solve the housing crisis and launch their own community-led housing schemes. There are a number of different models but one of the key ways that communities can get schemes off the ground is through the creation of community land trusts, where land is held in perpetuity by the community.

There are now over 225 community land trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales, and the sector has grown six-fold in the last six years. In many part of the country local councils are playing an active role in helping communities community-led housing schemes off the ground.

There is also funding and support available through the £60m annual community housing fund, launched by the government in 2016, for places affected by second home ownership. In the first year the money will be distributed to local authorities, with the south-west, south-east and east of England getting the largest chunks of funding, and support from the Building and Social Housing Foundation and the CLT Network.

Who’s doing it?

Granby 4 Streets: Holistic regeneration of a deprived area
Granby 4 Streets started life as a community-run market and guerilla gardening group, in a neighbourhood broken up by successive demolition plans which formed part of the Liverpool housing market renewal initiative. Over time, this evolved into a community land trust with a strong vision: to reinstate their streets as a thriving, vibrant, multi-racial, multi-cultural area. They have been given the freehold of 10 properties in the area by Liverpool council, and will refurbish these as permanently affordable housing. In phase 2, their project will refurbish derelict shops, an arts and retail hub and a community cafe. The properties are all being developed in partnership with a mentorship training programme, to offer building training to unskilled young people.

Leeds: A people-powered housing development

The first sixteen homes created by Leeds Community Homes have been made available via a section 106 agreement between the developers, Citu, and Leeds council. Leeds Community Homes, acting as a community land trust, is the affordable housing partner on the development. As part of the agreement, Leeds Community Homes will acquire 16 one and two bedroom flats, on what is expected to be the largest sustainable development in the UK.

Nine of the flats will be retained for social rent, while seven of the homes will be sold on at a discounted ‘intermediate’ price – around two thirds of full market value.  Leeds Community Homes will ensure that when homes are sold on in the future, that they are sold on at a similar discount to market value.

The acquisition of the homes has been funded by a community share offer. Leeds Community Homes raised £362,000 through a community share offer, with 275 individuals and organisations investing amounts from £100 upwards. Power To Change matched the first £100,000 of individual investments through their Community Shares Booster Fund. Two thirds of investors are from the Leeds area.

Leeds council has been supportive of Leeds Community Homes – primarily by working with them and Citu to ensure that Leeds Community Homes could be part of the city’s affordable housing framework, even though Leeds Community Homes is not a registered provider. As a result Leeds Community Homes was able to be the affordable housing partner on this development. Leeds Community Homes continues to work closely with the council, to identify future opportunities for working together to provide affordable housing.

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