Richmondshire District Council

A new multi-million pound government fund will provide local communities with a golden opportunity to build more permanently affordable housing.

The Community Housing Fund will provide cash to help local people make their community housing projects a reality. Community led housing approaches include Community Land Trusts (CLTs), cohousing and housing co-ops.

“Now is the time for communities wanting to build more permanently affordable housing in their local areas,” said Sarah Hall from the REACH community led housing Hub for North and East Yorkshire.

“This fund will help tackle the lack of affordable housing that we in North and East Yorkshire and the rest of the country are experiencing.”

She said community led housing is not new to the area - Hudswell Community Charity has developed three new homes for local people to meet the identified need and size and type required. The charity used £80,000 of charity reserves, a mortgage from Charity Bank and £40,000 from the previous round of Community Housing Fund, through Richmondshire District Council, to fund the shortfall. The homes were designed and developed in less than a year, with local people moved in for Christmas 2017.

Other planned community led housing schemes include the conversion of an existing building by the Askrigg Foundation and the conversion of Bainbridge Chapel. In Exelby the community is refurbishing one dwelling in conjunction with buying the local pub and at Brafferton and Helperby plans are underway to develop new homes to meet an identified need.

The Community Housing Fund, which will be managed by Homes England, will come in two phases: phase one will help groups to cover costs during the planning stages and capital will be available for more established projects to pay for infrastructure, such as new roads. Phase two will be capital grants to pay for the construction costs for new homes.

“There are already around 30 groups across North and East Yorkshire working towards providing new homes for their communities,” added Sarah. “This announcement will give greater certainty and confidence to those groups and encourage new communities to consider this route to meeting the housing needs of their community. We look forward to working with Homes England and local groups to realise the potential of this funding and approach.”

Tom Chance, Director at the National CLT Network added: “This is the biggest investment the community led housing sector has seen in the last 30 years. I’m delighted that the Government has recognised the role communities can play in delivering much-needed affordable housing. When it comes to our vision of community led housing becoming a mainstream housing option, this is a significant boost.”

Visit the Reach Hub if you would like support to develop or start your own community housing project.

More information on the fund can be found at GOV.UK.

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