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.

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