Half of councils in England & Wales now supportive of community led housing

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New research carried out by the National Community Land Trust Network revealed that half of local authorities in England and Wales are supportive of community led housing development.

  • 1 in 2 councils is now supportive of community led housing, up from 1 in 3  when we last carried out this research in 2019
  • The number of grants or loans councils have awarded to community led housing groups has more than doubled from 2019 to 2020
  • Of those councils that responded to both the 2019 and 2020 FOI requests, 37% improved their scores, 57% stayed the same and just 5% earned a lower score

The information has been compiled following Freedom of Information requests to all councils in England and Wales in February 2020.

The complete dataset, including each council’s response and score, can be found here.

The growing support of councils is absolutely critical to community led housing groups’ ability to access funding, planning permissions and land disposals for their projects.

Our FOI request surveyed councils on whether they had implemented specific policies to support community led housing, whether they had provided grants, loans, leases or land disposals to forward community led housing projects and whether they had staff dedicated to supporting community led housing groups.

This analysis makes it clear that local government support for the community led housing movement is gaining ground. This growth in support is thanks to the community led housing groups across England and Wales, including CLTs, who’ve built productive and durable working relationships with their councils and raised the profile of community led housing as a viable route for delivering much-needed affordable housing.


What’s next?

In order to achieve our vision for anyone, anywhere to be able to set up and run a CLT to manage community assets based on local need, the community led housing movement will need the support of every council in England and Wales.

If you’re a local authority looking to provide more support for local community led housing projects, find your local enabling hub to start a conversation, access this toolkit developed for local authorities and contact the National CLT Network.

If you’re a CLH group or hub, check how your area councils responded and were scored, talk to them about their support for CLH and take advantage of the local advocacy toolkit to strengthen your relationships with your local authorities. Don’t forget to consult this list to see if local authorities near you are part of the May 2021 local elections, which could be a great time to ask your councils for more support for CLH.

Note: The score for local authorities in this dataset are based solely on the answers they provided to our FOI request, and do not factor in anecdotal information known by the National CLT Network. Only completed actions were attributed towards a score: if a council said it had plans to change policy, to dispose of a site to a community led housing group or to award grant funding, those plans would not factor into their score but might have been carried out since the council’s response was issued.

Download the 2020 England + Wales Local FOI Research.