Community led housing

Putting communities at the heart of decision making

Community-led housing schemes are increasingly being recognised as a way to provide affordable housing to meet local needs by putting communities at the heart of decision making.

Building these homes does not mean spoiling areas of beautiful countryside, it means building homes that will provide a long term positive social impact. Working with local communities to make sensible, informed decisions about what needs to be built and where – and finding the right sites on which to do so.

Communities can lead a project or work in partnership with the Council or a property developer.

Thanet  District Council has been awarded funding via the Government’s Community Housing Fund to support communities to deliver new homes. We are doing this by providing training, information and support and helping Community Led Housing groups to access funding.

Basic steps for success

  • Form a community group
  • Secure a site – find a suitable site, including investigating any potential problems and how much it will cost.
  • Planning – Affordable Housing is subject to the same planning application process as any other housing scheme, aspects considered in the district/local housing need, housing mix, proposed tenure, section 106 agreement clause.
  • Design and finance the scheme – tap into local expertise and access available grants and loans to finance your scheme.
  • Build and manage the completed development – consider the longer term investment to manage and maintain the scheme to remain affordable.

There are various ways a Community Led Affordable Housing Development can be achieved.

In partnership with a housing association – the main advantage of partnering with a Housing Association or Registered Provider is their experience and expertise of Affordable Housing, including maintenance and ongoing management of the scheme. They also have the capacity to handle regulatory obligations which may be costly.  They can also help to take the burden of accessing finance through grants and sizable loans from mainstream lenders.

Community Land Trusts (CLT)

For those wanting to take a more hands on approach  a CLT will give the group ownership of the homes they fund, however the extent of their involvement in the development and management of the homes can still vary.

Housing Co-operatives and Mutual Housing

An association of people untied through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise to meet common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations.  This approach allows residents to have a direct say in the way the homes are managed and maintained. There are two types which are most relevant to the Community Led Housing Group-

Ownership  Co-operatives – homes owned and managed by the members.  They may be self-funded by the group or built with public grant contribution.

Self-Build Co-operatives- tenants are involved in the building of the homes.  Self-builders on low incomes can contribute to the project a set number of hours.  In exchange for their labour they pay a lower rent, receive part ownership of their home.

And ……

The Community Led Housing fund can also support self-help housing, ie community groups bringing empty properties back into use.

Local skills – Community Led Housing developments can also provide skills, training and apprenticeships for local unemployed people.

How to apply

Please complete the application form below, including as much detail as possible.  Return to the Housing Strategy & Projects Manager, Thanet District Council, P O Box 9, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ.  Full guidance notes on how to apply are also here, below.

Application Form

Grants Information

We’re here to help

We are here to help you make sense of the options and help you make the right choices for your community.

We are working in partnership with our neighbouring authorities Dover and Canterbury, and there are a number of FREE training courses available (links to Dover council web site).  Find out more and book online here.

In addition, there are meetings of the Community-Led Housing Forum in Dover from January to March 2020.

Moving forward with Community Led Housing takes enthusiasm, energy and commitment.  If you can provide this we will help you find the support and advice to get your project off the ground.

For further information , to discuss your ideas, or to take the first step please contact Ashley Jackson, Strategic Housing Officer on 01843 577280 or ashley.jackson@thanet.gov.uk

Conference held June 2019

We had a very successful day at The Ark in Dover and we want to say thank you to all those who attended and shared the day with us.

Thank you for attending and sharing at the Community-Led Housing and Self-Build Conference, from your Community-Led Housing Officers at Dover District Council Naomi Palmer, Canterbury City Council Emma Bartlett, Folkestone and Hythe District Council Alex Samson and Thanet District Council Ashley Jackson.

We have a short video from the conference we would like to share with you:

Read our statement to MHCLG here.

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