Blog by Alison Butler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services.
As Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services, I was delighted to bring a paper outlining our strategic approach to supporting community led housing to Croydon cabinet last week.
The paper set out an ambitious pledge for the council to back a range of community led housing initiatives, commencing with a pilot of up the five sites in 2019. The strategy received support from across the political spectrum, and we are now keen to move forward with this important work.
Croydon Council has been supportive of the community led housing sector for a number of years, we set up the Housing Commission on Community-Led Housing in 2016 on behalf of the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network (CCIN) to encourage local authorities to foster co-operative and community-led solutions to the housing crisis.
It produced a report, ‘Community-Led Housing: a Key Role for Local Authorities’, published in 2018, which sets out a framework for how councils can support their communities in the delivery of housing, and now set out a plan as to how we will achieve this in Croydon. As a council we are aware of the crisis in the supply of homes and we are committed to supporting residents to access a range of good-quality affordable homes. Community-led schemes are part of the overall mix we need to tackle a nationwide shortage.
[Image: Croydon Council]
In recent years we have begun to tackle the housing affordability crisis through local initiatives such as Brick by Brick (BxB) and Croydon Affordable Homes (CAH). CAH is a charitable partnership set up to make renting in Croydon more affordable by delivering properties to rent, with the goal of renting out at least 340 local homes at a maximum of 65% of the usual private rent to borough residents by 2020.
In 2016, Croydon created BxB focussing initially on building homes on council owned land across the borough. BxB has received planning consent for over 40 sites so far, providing 1,036 new homes. 498 of these (48%) are designated affordable. Of this 48%, half will be genuinely affordable rent and the rest shared ownership. BxB are keen to use their expertise to assist community-led housing in the borough.
Croydon Council are delighted to see strong government and GLA support for the Community Led Housing sector through the £38million Community Housing Fund in London. This funding, together with our own support will give local people the opportunity to make their ideas a reality, to build strong communities that meet affordable housing need.
Croydon Council will open the bidding process for community groups later this year, and those who submit successful business cases will receive design and logistical support from BxB. We look forward to seeing what bids come forward in our borough. We will be hosting a workshop in March for those interested, and we would encourage people to attend to ask questions about how they can get involved in creating affordable homes locally.