Community-led housing

Cornwall Council sees community-led housing (CLH) as central to our ambition to deliver more affordable homes for local people in places where they need them. By advocating a community-led approach to development, Cornwall Council pro-actively supports CLH initiatives. Many communities are engaging with affordable housing issues through the Neighbourhood Plan process, and are considering pro-active approaches.

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

Continue reading
  • housing developed or owned by community land trusts
  • projects run by community anchor organisations like local development trusts
  • affordable self-build and collaborative housing projects
  • partnership projects between the community and a housing partner like a housing association, local authority or other body

CLH 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.

There are a number of sources of funding available to help you explore and deliver a housing project on behalf of your community; 

  • Community-led Homes: The Community-led Homes initiative provides advice, guidance and funding for pre-development work including project planning and feasibility studies.
  • Community Housing Fund: Delivered through Homes England, the Community Housing Fund can provide both revenue (start-up grants and feasibility work) as well as capital (infrastructure, site servicing and development). 
  • Community Land Trust Revolving Loan Fund: Cornwall Council has created a £4.5m development loan fund for community land trusts which can provide competitive short-term loans to finance the build stage of a CLH project. 

Rural Toolkit: Cornwall Council has produced a useful guide to the process by which communities can deliver local needs affordable housing.

Community-led Housing Toolkit: Detailed and technical guidance on aspects like legal structures, planning and finance.

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. 

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 vehicles, such as affordable rented and sale; open market rent and sale; and the provision of custom and self-build homes. 

The RHE’s principle role is to:

  • Encourage growth by working with communities and elected members to identify local housing need. 
  • Work with communities, landowners and developers to identify potential development sites and opportunities to unlock sites for affordable housing growth. 
  • Establish vehicles for delivery by working with communities to facilitate the development of a range of appropriate affordable housing.  This may include: delivery through CLTs; 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.