Britain needs more homes. And fast.
Let's get the next government to back community led housing
We’re calling for the next government to get behind and embrace the growing community led housing movement. With diversification and innovation so desperately needed this movement is an important piece of the puzzle.
In just two years the number of homes planned by community land trusts, cohousing groups and housing co-operatives has tripled to over 16,600. With the proper backing, the movement can build even more affordable homes for local people.
How the next government can put communities at the heart of building Britain’s homes:
Introducing a Community Right to Buy
Getting hold of land at an affordable price is the biggest barrier to affordable housing, including by CLTs. We need to upgrade the Localism Act to provide powers like those in Scotland, where communities don’t just have the right to bid (as in England) but have a pre-emptive right to buy land at an independently valued price. In the case of abandoned or neglected land where the use is causing harm to local wellbeing, they also have the right to compulsorily buy the land. This should be supported by a £20m Land Fund to provide loan funding to support groups to acquire land, or an interest in land without planning permission.
Renewing a £500m Community Housing Fund for five years
Communities plan to build over 16,600 homes in the next four years. The previous Community Housing Fund was instrumental in achieving that growth but bidding for revenue and capital was only open for 18 months. CLT projects can take four or five years to complete. To see these homes built and the sector deliver on its potential a £500m Community Housing Fund must be renewed for five years and be fit for purpose.
Keeping CLT homes affordable to local people
The fundamental principle of a CLT is that homes remain affordable, not just for now but for every future occupier. It is that principle that motivates people to give up hundreds of hours of their spare time to invest in a project, or landowners to be willing to sell land to a project. It is therefore vital that CLTs are made exempt from policies or legislation that undermines the permanent affordability of a CLT, including leasehold enfranchisement, the Voluntary Right to Buy and the Right to Shared Ownership.