Community Housing Fund

Lancaster City Council has been allocated £707,630 of the £60 million funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Community Housing Fund. The funding has been awarded to build capacity within local groups, raise awareness of community-led housing and identify local communities that would benefit from community-led housing initiatives.

Community-led housing

Community-led housing aims to solve local housing problems, create affordable homes and establish and encourage strong communities. These solutions can be the development of new build properties, the re-use of existing buildings and bringing empty homes back into use.

There are five models of community-led housing:

  • Co-housing
  • Community land trusts (CLT)
  • Cooperative housing
  • Self and custom build
  • Self-help housing

In each model the onus is on the community to take the lead in the design and development of the scheme. In terms of the community’s stake in the long-term role in the ownership, stewardship or management of homes, this would be dependent on the housing model they adopt.

Grant fund

Allocation of the community housing fund will be in line with the grant fund policy.

It is not an open grant fund which any one can apply for. Grant funding is available to:

  • Community organisations
  • Registered providers
  • Other development partners

Grants can be used to support community-led, non-profit making organisations with ambitions to deliver affordable housing in their communities. This includes community land trusts, groups interested in self-build or custom build and community groups interested in delivering affordable housing.

We will not allocate funding to schemes that do not meet these basic principles as derived from the building and social housing foundation (BSHF) details of which are outlined in the grant fund policy.

What work has the council been doing to support community-led developments?

A range of activities and actions have taken place since Lancaster City Council received the government funding in 2017.  This has included:-

  • Organising briefings for elected members, parish councils and neighbourhood plan groups.
  • Employing a part-time officer to work closely with groups.  The officer post became vacant again but the council has the funding in place to continue the post for two years and it is being advertised.
  • Providing small grants to support three potential projects in Lancaster district.
  • Providing funding to create a new Sub-Regional Community Led Enabling Hub with partner Local Authorities in Cumbria (South Lakes, Allerdale, Eden, Copeland and Carlisle).  A selection process was completed in March 2019 and awarded to Action with Communities in Cumbria. 

The Hub will:

  • provide one-to-one support and information about funding to help groups to progress more quickly and have a dedicated website (which is currently being developed).
  •  introduce groups to professionals such as architects, planners and surveyors
  • make useful connections with local planners
  •  identify other potential partners such as Registered Providers (also known as Registered Social Landlords or Housing Associations) and developers
  •  create learning and networking opportunities for peer-to-peer support with other community led housing groups

For more information on the Community Led Enabling Hub Cumbria and Lancaster please visit  https://clhhub.org.uk/

Lancaster City Council is continuing to develop projects with two community groups in Halton.  These groups are Senior Co-Housing Group Ltd and Lune Valley Community Land Trust.  Both would like to bring forward new housing and have received grant funding to take those proposals forward.

At present, working in partnership with Lancaster City Council and Arc4, Lune Valley Community Land Trust identified the need to undertake a Parish Housing Needs Survey for Halton and the surrounding settlements.  The results of the survey will inform the design and mix of housing provided.  For more information about Lune Valley CLT and the survey being done, visit http://lunevalleyclt.org

For further information about the Community Housing Fund and how the council can help with community led developments, please contact Kathy Beaton, Housing Strategy Officer, Planning Policy Team at Lancaster City Council by email at kbeaton@lancaster.gov.uk or by telephone on (01524) 582724.

Further information

Housing models

Funding and alternative grants

Last updated: 03 September 2019