The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer MP, Minister of State for Housing, met online earlier today (19 December 2022) with the CLT Network and its partners to discuss how to scale up community land trusts and community led housing across the country.
The Housing Minister was interested in learning about various community led housing delivery models finding success in certain parts of the country, how they could be replicated to produce similar results in other communities and what is needed from government to support the sector. The Minister said she had been impressed with the work of CLTs in her own constituency because they can bring forward projects in places where others find it difficult and give value to communities in perpetuity. She showed her close engagement with technical questions to those who spoke about how the different delivery methods worked in terms of ownership, allocations and how sites were unlocked. The Minister said she found the conversation “fascinating” and the community led housing movement “an exciting area.”
CLT Network CEO Tom Chance spoke about how the last decade has seen an explosion of experimentation with CLH models, boosted by the Community Housing Fund (CHF). That’s 12-23,000 homes in the pipeline, representing 600-900 groups. Despite the start-stop nature of CHF funding, groups have been able to push forward on many innovative schemes. The CLT Network has been focusing on which replicable models – in terms of solutions to common land, finance, and expertise problems – have been refined by hubs, groups and their partners in different parts of the country.
Some of these models include the CLT-housing association partnership model in the South West, the proliferation of CLT homes in the Housing Minister’s own constituency thanks to specific local planning policies in East Cambridgeshire and land disposal programmes that are helping community led housing groups succeed in Liverpool and Bristol.
Representatives from the CLT Network, local enabling hubs, CLTs, housing associations the Department for Levelling Up and Homes England were on the call to share experiences and answer the Minister’s questions about replicable models and what’s needed from Government to support the sector.
Tom and others asked the Minister to renew the Community Housing Fund with sufficient funding to keep the pipeline moving and develop these more replicable models, potentially to include a pilot of new ways of deploying the funding. Tom also proposed a package of policy tweaks to the way the planning system works in England and Wales that would make it easier for CLTs to develop projects and incentivise more housing associations, councils and developers to partner with CLTs on affordable housing delivery. Taken together, this source of funding and expertise via a renewed CHF and this package of policies to help CLH groups would unlock barriers to scaling up these models across England.
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