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Community Led Housing

What is Community Led Housing?

An alliance of organisations have developed the following definition of community led housing:

  • the community must be integrally involved throughout the process in key decisions (what, where, for who). They don’t necessarily have to initiate and manage the development process, or build the homes themselves, though some may do
  • 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

Most community-led housing developments have the following features:

  • It is usually smaller scale – most schemes are under 25 homes and some are much smaller
  • Schemes are usually set up and run by local people in their own communities, often with external support from housing associations, local authorities or support organisations
  • Most schemes provide affordable homes for rent, shared ownership or sale on sites that are often difficult for mainstream housing providers to develop
  • Most schemes meet long term local housing needs, by the community 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, involving considerable voluntary effort

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
  • Cohousing schemes involve groups of 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 the homes through an agreement with their council or housing association landlord
  • 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 skills training and support
  • Community self-build involves groups of local people in housing need building homes for themselves with external support and managing the process collectively.

Community Led Housing in York, North Yorkshire & East Riding

With funding in 2016 from the Nationwide Foundation, North Star Housing Association and the UK CoHousing Network, the Housing Partnership and Rural Action Yorkshire undertook research into the potential for Community Led Housing in the rural areas of North Yorkshire and East Riding. The aim of the work was to raise awareness of community led housing with communities, Local Authorities and the Rural Housing Enablers and to identify pilot communities where community led housing could be supported. The report produced as part of the 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 funding in 2016/17 and hopes to secure additional funding in 2017/18. The breakdown of funding between the Local Authorities 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 are now working together and with community groups to identify opportunities to invest this funding and to use some of the funding to develop a Community Led Housing 'Hub' across North Yorkshire and East Riding which would provide support and technical expertise to groups wishing to develop new homes for their communities. 

Sod cutting at HudswellSod cutting at Hudswell

Hudswell Community Land Trust in Richmondshire District has been the first recipient of the Community Housing Fund. Villagers in Hudswell – already famous for its award winning community pub – have come together to build three houses for local people who cannot afford to buy a home there. Hudswell Community Charity has 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 across the District. We are fully committed to supporting the delivery of affordable housing especially in our rural areas and want to hear from any Parish or community group who have similar plans.”

The plans for the the Community Housing Fund in the area are currently under development and information will be shared on this website as it is available. If you have any questions, please contact

For further information, each community-led housing ‘model’ detailed above has its own national body that promotes and supports the sector:

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