CCLH Steering Group Update

This is an update on our current thinking about Ryebank Fields and the sort of development we would like to be involved in. We understand the draft of the Development Framework is now completed and our councillors said they would want residents’ views on it to feed back to the Director of Housing and the Exec Member for housing, before they sign it off. We therefore hope to meet with our councillors soon.

We continue to believe that Ryebank Fields will be sold for development but think that the sale of the land simply for private profit and the loss of its beautiful trees would be a travesty. However, the situation is more nuanced and would urge local people to consider our view. As is the case all over the country, good quality affordable housing in Chorlton is out of reach for many and gentrification is forcing local families to move out of the area. We believe that we should look creatively at ways to deliver the homes that people need, which will enable families to stay together in the communities in which they have grown up, whilst also protecting and enhancing our natural environment.

We’re proposing setting up a Community Land Trust, and have joined the CLT network,as a way of ensuring the land and the affordable homes are stewarded by members for ever, and can never be sold for profit.

It is clear that many landowners and developers seem more interested in profit than creating sustainable communities but here we have a chance here to do something different. Working with local residents, Chorlton Community Led Housing Group is developing ideas for the more sympathetic redevelopment of the land, which includes retaining trees, creating new diverse habitats, protecting the historic Nico Ditch, and working with the adjacent Longford Park to encourage and support biodiversity and wildlife across the wider area.

We would like to see a range of size and tenure of homes that are affordable to local people and meet local needs. Energy efficiency and exemplary design would be prioritised and the development would be designed to discourage the use of private cars. We would also incorporate age-friendly living and cohousing principles, which would deliver shared spaces for people who want to build and be active in their own community. By letting the community lead the process, profits would be used to build better quality and affordable homes, to improve local services and to ensure community stewardship of the land in perpetuity. As a charity, MMU are unable to simply give the land away and must secure ‘best value’; however, they are in a unique position to support the community to deliver, for itself, the type of housing it really needs.

An idea whose time has come…. to Manchester

Recent developments have put community led housing firmly on the map in Manchester and across Greater Manchester.

On Saturday 8th December the Housing Futures research partnership launched a report  on their findings on housing and community led approaches within the Greater Manchester city region.  The report found that community led housing has the potential to generate a wealth of benefits amidst the housing crisis, including:

  • Retention of investment for use within communities
  • Protection against gentrification-induced displacement of people from their home communities
  • Social, environmental, and economic benefits – e.g. zero carbon homes and employment and training opportunities
  • Opening up the housing system to innovation and new ideas

A ‘next steps’ booklet  was also published with specific recommendations for putting community led housing into practice.

At the launch event Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford and Greater Manchester lead for housing spoke positively about the report’s recommendations including the continued development of a Greater Manchester Hub to support community led housing across the city region.

On Wednesday 12 December Manchester City Council’s Executive Committee approved a report on affordable housing from the Executive Member for  housing and regeneration.  The report set out a new vision for the provision of affordable housing across the city.  Within the report there were two significant policy ideas which where that:

The council will explore the feasibility of at least three community led housing projects on council land  providing at least 30 affordable homes in total.  At least one of these will be led by older people

The council will develop a strategy to unleash the potential for community led housing of all tenures across the city by summer 2019.

Community led housing has been around for some time with beacons of good practice being developed, particularly in other parts of the country.  It now seems that Manchester has embraced this as an idea for the city whose time has come.

More information about the public event on 4 December

We will be running this as a consultation event to seek people’s views about the type of housing and community they would ideally like to see on Ryebank Fields.  We’ve also done a short blog on What is Community Led Housing to start people thinking about this in advance. The style of the event will be participative, with people mainly contributing in small groups.

In advance, this is what we know about where things are up to.

MMU continue to want to sell the land for housing.  Before anything else happens, Manchester City Council will adopt a Development Framework for the site.  This guides developers on what sort of development would be likely to get planning permission.

Our group have been in to see MMU to talk about a community led option as an alternative to the original proposal for executive homes. They seemed cautiously interested in our ideas but have not got back to us about any specific ongoing involvement.

We see our next steps as gathering views on what a housing development could look like at Ryebank Fields from a community perspective.  We will use this information to seek to influence the Development Framework, which we understand is the next significant step in the process.

Feel free to just turn up on the night but it would be great if you’d let us know you are coming through our Facebook event link or drop us a line on hello@chorltoncommunityledhousing.org

What is community led housing ?

The group thought it would be helpful to set out what we mean by community led housing in the context of our interest in Ryebank Fields.

We see community led housing as being about local people playing a leading and lasting role in creating homes and strong communities.  We believe that when communities and future residents are at the heart of developing homes, that people’s creativity and inherent interest helps achieve more successful, more affordable places for us all.

Community led housing is a broad movement encompassing a range of approaches, including Community Land Trusts (CLTs), cohousingco-operatives, and community self-build.  Homes can be rented, owned or part owned within a variety of affordable models.  It doesn’t necessarily preclude having some standard private sector owner occupied housing which could, for example, sit within a CLT alongside affordable housing.

Community led housing organisations, as well focusing on affordable housing for the community, may decide to prioritise wider benefits to the community such as: protecting local biodiversity, zero carbon measures, not contributing to air pollution, food growing, safe outdoor play space, opportunities to be neighbourly, promoting a local sharing economy and sustainable travel.

Whilst community led housing varies according to local housing needs and aspirations, and the priorities of communities, there are generally three main principles involved. We see these as applying to Ryebank Fields (as an alternative to the traditional disposal and developer-led approach which we oppose). These are that the community has:

  • Full involvement in the process of what is built, and who it is provided for
  • A long-term role in the ownership, stewardship or management of the land and the homes
  • Defined and legally protected the benefits of the scheme for the local area or a specific group in perpetuity.

Achieving a community led housing development at Ryebank Fields is an ambitious endeavour, but we hope that others will be inspired and join with us to help shape ideas into reality. This would ensure that Ryebank Fields is retained as an asset where people will live more sustainably for future generations.

Public event 4 December 2018

Letter to residents

We are a group of local residents who see the opportunity of creating a community led, exemplar development at Ryebank Fields, with a range of homes meeting local housing needs and aspirations, which encourage neighbourliness, are age friendly, low carbon, affordable, support biodiversity, and minimise impact on traffic.

We, along with the overwhelming majority of those who responded to the consultation, opposed the proposals that MMU came up with last year for a development on Ryebank Fields.  We held a public meeting, elected a group to take things further, and drew up a group response. When the consultation report was finally published in July this year we held another packed public meeting.

We were disappointed with many aspects of the report on the consultation but accept that the land is likely to be sold for housing.  We want to make sure the community can influence and shape the eventual outcome as much as possible in line with the principles we developed.  It has taken us a number of months to get to meet with Manchester City Council (MCC) and subsequently with MMU.  We have now had initial meetings with both, during which our ideas were positively received.

As MMU and MCC are both supportive of a participatory approach we are organising an event on Tuesday 4th December 7.30 pm at St John’s RC Primary school, Chepstow Rd, off Longford Rd, to give local residents an opportunity to share constructive ideas on what would make Ryebank Fields a sustainable place to live for people today and for future generations. We intend to take peoples’ ideas forward to future meetings with MMU and MCC.

We know many people just want to oppose any development, which is their right. This event is for those who would like to participate in influencing what sort of a development will take place, including those who may prefer no development, but if there is to be one would like to have their say.   We hope you will join us.

At the event we will get names and contact details of those who want to be involved in future in influencing what sort of a development will take place. If you can’t come on 4th December but want to be involved in the future in this way please email: Hello@chorltoncommunityledhousing.org

 

Reframing the housing offer for older people

A thought provoking report  Reframing the housing offer for older people was published on Monday 1 October to mark International Older People’s Day.  It is   based on research undertaken by PHASE at Manchester School of Architecture.  It was produced in collaboration with: Greater Manchester Combined Authority  and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub.  It was supported by the Centre for Ageing Better .

A key point is that a large proportion of older people for many reasons don’t make proactive life choices about their future housing, and only move home when they reach crisis point.  The report makes the case for innovative new approaches to ensure that new housing is both attractive and within reach of those who wish to move.  

Community led housing, including cohousing,  are some of those options which people thinking ahead can consider.  Learning  more about these and other ideas helps start the conversation about where and how we might want to live as we get older.

Ryebank Fields

The recent consultation by Manchester City Council on a planning framework for three potential housing sites has challenged many of us who care about the future of Chorlton as a great place to live.

The initial idea of building “executive homes” on Ryebank Fields owned by Manchester Metropolitan University has been the touchpoint that has surfaced significant concerns in the community.  There have so far been two main responses, both valid from their differing perspectives.  One is that we should initially explore options that meet housing and community needs and aspirations which align, as far as possible, with Manchester’s wider social and environmental objectives.   The other is that we should fight to stop this valuable green space in our city being built on.

This newly formed Chorlton Community Led Housing group supports the first approach and take some heart from the recently approved Council report which states that: “any planning application process should be informed by a meaningful participatory approach involving local resident groups.”

The group supports the principles outline on this website and encourages others to join with us to help develop and shape ideas for discussion with the Council and Manchester Metropolitan University.