Major funding boost for community-led home building

MHCLG announces £6m to help communities kick-start local housing developments.

housebuilding

Some £6m is coming the way of the Community Led Homes programme in England, as MHCLG looks to commit the sum over a two-year period with payment of the full allocation in 2019/20 dependent on the “full and appropriate” defrayal of the £2m allocation in 2018/19.

And MHCLG also stipulates this must be in line with the project as defined in the funding agreement and the satisfactory delivery of the project against project targets.

As announced by housing Minister Kit Malthouse, funding of up to £10,000 will be provided to groups to cover start-up costs such as legal fees, and a further £3.5 million will be made available to provide technical advice and support to guide communities through the process of house building.

The measure is part of a wider boost to local housebuilding towards government’s target of 300,000 properties built a year by the mid-2020s.

Managed by four leading housing charities, the Community Led Homes Programme provides funding to kickstart community-led housing developments.

Head of Community Led Homes, Samantha Jones, said: “Communities want to play their part in tackling the country’s affordable housing crisis and many are forming community led housing groups to do so.

“In the next five years the movement will build over 5,000 affordable homes.

“We’ve created the Community Led Homes programme to help this figure increase further still, and in time, for community led housing to become a mainstream housing option.”
MHCLG qualified its announcement in saying it’s looking to commit the £6m over a two-year period.

The payment of the full allocation in 2019/20 will depend on the full and appropriate defrayal of the £2 million allocation in 2018/19 – and this must be in line with the project as defined in the funding agreement and the satisfactory delivery of the project against project targets.

Bjorn Howard, group CEO of Aster Group, said Community Land Trusts were now a “core element of the group’s development strategy.

“We’ve seen first-hand the vital difference they can make, they are extremely effective at unlocking smaller parcels of land for development – land that is essential to meeting local housing need but doesn’t always stack up economically as a prospect for traditional development,” Howard said.

“Involving the community in a project also ensures they are at the heart of the development.

A scheme we delivered in Gloucestershire, for example, secured planning permission through a community referendum.

“Increasingly, housing associations are recognising the importance of working closely with communities so that homes and neighbourhoods meet  the needs of those who live there – this is all about empowering people and thinking in terms of communities, not simply homes and infrastructure,” he said.

Last month, 24housing reported community led homes as at risk if government ended the £163m Community Housing Fund, created to support the growth of the community led housing sector, in December this year – just 17 months after opening.

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