New fund gives communities power to deliver affordable homes

39 new affordable homes will be delivered across Oxfordshire with communities put in charge of where and how they will be built, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced today, Friday 25 March 2022.

This includes the 8 homes at Dean Court with the Oxfordshire Community Land Trust in Oxford City, and 31 at the Thame Community Land Trust site on Windmill Road.

The £4m Community Housing Fund (CHF) programme helps community groups build homes in their local area by covering a range of costs incurred in the process – including renting the town hall for a public meeting, paying for searches, administration costs or legal advice, design work and planning applications. Once planning permission is granted, community groups can fund the build through the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme, a Housing Association or developer or via a bank loan.

The fund will help level up the country by regenerating derelict areas and delivering homes that are affordable for local people, so more residents can live in the places they love.

The new houses will be part of locally-based organisations such as land trusts or housing co-operatives meaning they stay under the control of the community.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP said:

“Part of our Levelling Up mission is to build the quality homes that communities want and need. Community led housing is a great way to ensure local housing needs are met by putting local people in the driving seat.

“It is about residents playing a leading and lasting role creating genuinely affordable homes which regenerate and restore pride in communities.”

Community led housing also helps improve the design and construction quality of homes using modern methods of construction and gives more opportunity for smaller house builders to work on projects, growing local economies.

Tom Chance from Community Led Homes added:

“Community led housing groups are rooted in their communities and truly understand local housing needs. There are so many fantastic community led housing projects planned across the country. This programme will help many of these projects come to fruition.”

The fund will help deliver 52 housing projects in England, from Cornwall to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Bradford’s Greenwood Community Led Housing group, will build 62 supported homes for people with autism, learning disabilities or dementia. In Leeds, 34 affordable homes are being built to regenerate a deprived part of the city following extensive involvement of residents in the design of the buildings.

Today’s announcement follows the publication of the Bacon Review which recommended that reigniting the Community Housing Fund will create more opportunities for communities to build.