Wednesday 4 July 2018
“Now is the time for communities wanting to work together to build more permanently affordable housing in their local area,” says Brighton & Hove Community-Land Trust (BHCLT) in response to new multimillion Government fund.
The Community Housing Fund will provide local people with the financial backing to make their community-led housing projects a reality. Community-led housing approaches include Community Land Trusts (CLTs), self-build, cohousing and housing co-ops, all developed and run by local people working together. These projects bring more affordable housing to the city.
Community-led housing is not new to Brighton & Hove, which is home to around 20 housing co-operatives. Older examples include self-build projects Diggers (1998) and Hedgehog (2000), as well as Two Piers Housing Co-operative (1978), a registered provider which houses around 70 people across Brighton & Hove.
Through the previous round of the Community Housing Fund, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), BHCLT has supported 17 new community-led housing groups over the past eight months. These include:
- Bunker Housing Co-op: A self-build group due to start building their first two homes this month. Each three-bedroom house is approximately 100 sq meters and due to cost around £175,000 each to build. They will then be rented to members of the co-operative for £800 a month per home.
Bunker is a fully mutual housing co-operative and has been working on developing a model that can be rolled out over several “infill” sites across the city. They are building using an off site modular system of CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) panels to form the super insulated structure and the project is set to be a great example of what affordable, self-build community-led housing can be.
Bunker was started by two families, who met through their children. Like many of Brighton’s residents with no access to either home ownership nor social housing, their choices were limited to private renting and they lived in damp, insecure and unaffordable accommodation while they faced the growing possibility of being priced out of the city altogether.
Together they created Bunker with the aim of enabling low-income, self-employed people like themselves to take back control of their housing situation and to build their own beautifully designed, secure and permanently affordable housing.
- Sussex Cohousing is another group working with BHCLT and aiming to develop a cohousing project in or near Brighton. Their vision is a community of 15-35 households (each with their own front door), collaboratively managed by the residents and working on a mixed tenure model, including renting and ownership. They are currently exploring different sites in the local area, on which they will be able to build.
- Lilliput housing co-operative are planning a neighbourhood of nine small, low cost homes for those most in need of secure, genuinely affordable housing in Brighton & Hove. It would run as a co-operative with its members as both tenant and landlord. They have been making great progress on the project over the past few months and are in the process of obtaining land and finances.
Other projects include a student housing co-operative called SEASALT, a cohousing project for women over 50 years old, a project incorporating adults with learning disabilities and a group setting up a housing project for people with mental health issues.
BHCLT is hoping that this recent round of the Community Housing Fund can help make more projects like these a reality in Brighton & Hove. The Fund will be managed by Homes England and will come in two phases: phase one will help groups to cover costs during the planning stages and capital will be available for more established projects to pay for infrastructure, such as new roads; and the second phase will be capital grants to pay for the construction costs for new homes. More information on the fund can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/collections/community-housing-fund
Peter Clarke, BHCLT Director said: “We’ve been waiting for this news for a while, so we’re excited to see the Government making a commitment to support people wanting to lead their own affordable housing projects.
“We are hoping this Fund will be a boost to community-led housing in Brighton & Hove, a city where we desperately need more affordable housing.”
Tom Chance, Director at the National CLT Network said: “This is the biggest investment the community led housing sector has seen in the last 30 years. I’m delighted that Government has recognised the role communities can play in delivering much-needed affordable housing. When it comes to our vision of community led housing becoming a mainstream housing option, this is a significant boost.”
People who would like support to start their own community-led housing project should contact Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) on admin[at]bhclt.org.uk or find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
For more information, including to arrange an interview with someone from BHCLT or a local community-led housing group, contact Amy Hall, Communications Officer with BHCLT on comms[at]bhclt.org.uk
Notes to editors:
- Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
- The full prospectus for the Community Housing Fund can be found here: gov.uk/government/publications/community-housing-fund-prospectus
- Community-led housing is a broad movement where people are involved in meeting their own housing wants and needs. Approaches include Community Land Trusts (CLTs), self-build, cohousing, and co-operative housing.
- BHCLT has been leading the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme in partnership with Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove (CHIBAH) and Mutual Aid in Sussex (MAIS).
- The National CLT Network is the Charity for Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales and supports and promotes the work of CLTs, representing 240 CLTs in England and Wales. CLTs are local organisations set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes that are genuinely affordable for now and in perpetuity. CLTs have developed over 820 homes, with more than 5,000 in the pipeline up to 2021. More information can be found at: communitylandtrusts.org.uk
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