What is a Community Led Housing Scheme?
A Community-Led Scheme is an ideal option for communities who would like to have extensive input into the look and location of any affordable housing built in their parish.
These schemes are specifically for affordable homes, rather than open-market properties, and usually take place on Exception Sites, which are plots of land brought forward at a fraction of open market value to be used for affordable homes for local people.
The process begins with parish councils deciding whether they’d like to do a Community-Led Scheme. Once decided, A steering group is then created, which usually includes parish councillors, wider members of the local community and representatives from Shropshire Council.
They are then able to select which Registered Provider they would like to partner with to build their affordable homes. Registered Providers (RPs) are key to the delivery of affordable housing; they’re independent housing organisations registered with Homes England.
Most are housing associations, but there are also trusts, co-operatives, charities and companies, and they’re usually run by a board of management. RPs provide access to a range of home types to suit the needs of the individual, including houses, flats and bungalows.
Registered providers in Shropshire
Some of the most active RPs working with Shropshire Council include:
- Housing Plus Group
- Shropshire Rural
- Wrekin Housing Trust.
Shropshire Council’s Affordable Housing Team will provide guidance and support throughout this process, and once a Registered Provider has been selected and confirmed, representatives from the chosen Registered Provider will join the steering group and the group explores potential sites and selects the most suitable location. The RP then take on all the risk – so there’s no financial risk to the parish council.
The chosen Registered Provider will then secure the land and handle the negotiations, while the steering group consider what they’d like their affordable homes to look like, and who may be living in them based on local need – subject to the advice of the Council’s Planning Department.
A greater level of input
Some Housing Associations may have a standard building model for their properties, but with a Community-Led Scheme, the parish and steering group are able to have far greater input into the types of properties provided.
For example, it may be that smaller properties or bungalows are required for older people to downsize into, or that terraced properties are required to provide starter homes for young professionals from the area.
The Steering Group will also work together to create a Local Lettings Plan which sets out how properties will be allocated in exceptional circumstances to meet area-specific issues. Typically, Community-Led Schemes take around 18 months to complete.
Ultimately, Community-Led Housing Schemes are closely aligned with local parish plans for sustainability, since providing additional and affordable housing will help to secure the future of local shops and services.