Community-Led Housing in Cornwall

Rural Housing Enabler

Cornwall Council’s Rural Housing Enabler (RHE) plays a key role in the Council’s aspirations to significantly increase the level of affordable and community-led housing throughout rural Cornwall. 

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The RHE undertakes a range of activities to promote supply, such as assisting communities to understand the local need for new affordable housing, and identifying ways to delivery it.  Such provision will include a range of tenures and delivery, such as affordable rented and sale; open market rent and sale; and the provision of custom and self-build homes. 

The RHE’s principal role is to:

  • Encourage growth by working with communities and elected members to identify local housing need. 
  • Work with communities, Registered Providers, landowners and developers to identify potential development sites and opportunities to unlock sites for affordable housing growth. 
  • Establish ways to deliver new homes by working with communities to facilitate the development of a range of appropriate affordable housing. This may include: delivery through Community Land Trusts; Registered Providers; the Council; developers; or the community itself.
  • Develop policy to enhance affordable housing delivery, and ensure that the local planning and housing authorities are providing a responsive, but proactive service for their communities.

Community-led housing (CLH) is planned, designed and often owned or managed by the local community. It can include;

  • co-housing
  • self-help collaborative housing
  • co-operative and tenant controlled housing
  • housing developed or owned by community land trusts
  • projects run by community anchor organisations like local development trusts

Community-led housing is a way for communities to provide affordable homes that meet specific local needs. It may be designed to help certain groups – young people, older people, or those in need of affordable family homes. It’s often eco-friendly and sustainable and may be co-designed by and for a particular group of local people. It includes alternative housing models that offer a ‘third way’ between the private market, and public provision.

Community Led Housing initiatives can take many different forms and legal structures, but common principles are;

  1. The community is integrally involved throughout the process in key decisions like what is provided, where, and for who. They don’t necessarily have to initiate the conversation, or build homes themselves.
  2. There is a presumption that the community will take a long term formal role in the ownership, stewardship or management of the homes.
  3. The benefits of the scheme to the local area and/or specified community group are clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity.