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What is Community Led Housing?

An alliance of organisations have developed the following definition:

  • the community must be integrally involved in the process and in key decisions (what, where, for who). They don’t necessarily have to initiate and manage the development or build the homes themselves, though some may do so
  • a presumption in favour of community groups that take a long-term, formal role in ownership, management or stewardship of the homes
  • the benefits to the local area and/or specified community are clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity

Community led housing comes in many different forms. There are no standard models, but it can include:

  • Community Land Trusts provide affordable homes for local people in need by acquiring land and holding it as a community asset in perpetuity
  • Housing Co-operatives involve groups of people who provide and collectively manage affordable homes for themselves as tenants or shared owners
  • Co-housing schemes involve like-minded people who come together to provide self-contained, private homes for themselves, but manage their scheme together and share activities, often in a communal space
  • Tenant Management Organisations provide social housing tenants with collective responsibility for managing and maintaining their homes through an agreement with a council or housing association
  • Self-help housing projects involve small, community-based organisations bringing empty properties back into use, often without mainstream funding, with a strong emphasis on construction training and support
  • Community self-build involves local people in housing need building homes for themselves with external support and managing the process collectively.

Most community-led housing developments have the following features:

  • Usually smaller scale – most are under 25 homes and some are much smaller
  • Typically set up and run by local people in their communities, often with external support from housing associations, local authorities or other organisations
  • Most provide affordable homes for rent, shared ownership or sale on sites that are often difficult for mainstream housing providers to develop
  • Most meet long term, local housing needs, by retaining a legal and/or financial interest in the homes and ensuring they are always available to local people who need them
  • Most community-led housing is not for profit and involves considerable voluntary effort

Download our general leaflet on community led housing for more information. For further information, each community-led housing ‘model’ detailed above has its own national body:

REACH Community Led Housing Hub for York, North Yorkshire & East RidingReach LogoReach Logo

A hub to help communities develop affordable homes has been launched to help communities develop and manage projects Communities often struggle to find housing for local people due to second home ownership, lower incomes and high house prices and this can lead to the loss of local facilities.  Communities are coming together to address these problems and the Hub provides information and advice in one place to help groups get started and to manage their projects.

An Advisors Panel provides groups with access to firms with expertise in community development, architecture, planning, surveying, law and accountancy to help them bring their plans to fruition. Those interested in signing up to the Advisors Panel complete a simple questionnaire that will help communities to decide who to appoint.  Advisers will be expected to have some knowledge of working with communities and/or housing projects and be suitably qualified and experienced.  Grants are available for them to pay for this support. The information can be accessed at

Cllr Richard Foster, Chair of the Yorkshire North, Yorkshire and East Riding Housing Board, said: “This new service will make the delivery of Community Led Housing much simpler by bringing everything together in one place and helping communities get started to bring much needed affordable housing to their local area.”

Community Led Housing in York, North Yorkshire & East Riding

With funding from the Nationwide Foundation, North Star Housing Group and the UK CoHousing Network, the Rural Housing Enabler Network and Community First Yorkshire undertook research into the potential for community led housing in rural North and East Yorkshire in 2016. The aim was to raise awareness of community led housing with communities, local authorities and Rural Housing Enablers and identify where this could be supported. The final report from this work can be accessed here.

In late 2016, the Government announced a new £60m Community Housing Fund to support communities affected by second home ownership. Our area received £6.2m of this in 2016/17. The breakdown of funding is:

East Riding of Yorkshire £2,042,864
Craven      £605,964
Hambleton   £195,277
Harrogate  £585,832
Richmondshire £493,730
Ryedale £431,322
Scarborough £1,860,672

The Local Authorities and the Housing Board have worked to identify opportunities to invest this funding. As part of this, they have used some of this to support REACH Community Housing, to provide support and technical expertise to groups wishing to develop new homes for their communities in North and East Yorkshire

Hudswell Community Land Trust, Richmondshire

Completed community led housing at HudswellCompleted community led housing at Hudswell

Hudswell Community Land Trust was the first recipient of the Community Housing Fund. Villagers in Hudswell– already famous for its award winning community pub–came together to build three houses for local people who cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market. Hudswell Community Charity raised £80,000 towards the scheme – to add to a £250,000 loan from Charity Bank and a £40,000 grant from Richmondshire District Council.

“We know that many people who have strong local connections cannot afford to buy a home in Hudswell,” said Don Farrar, Chair of Hudswell Community Charity. So we are building affordable rented housing ourselves - for people to stay, or move back to the village.”

Richmondshire District Council Corporate Director, Callum McKeon, added: “The District Council is delighted to be able to support the Community Led Housing project in Hudswell as the first of its kind in North Yorkshire and we hope that the great work that they have been doing inspires other community groups to bring forward additional projects...” For more information on Hudswell, download this leaflet

Plans for the the Community Housing Fund are developing. If you have any questions, please contact

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