Oxford to explore impact of community-led housing

The city council has commissioned research to look at housing set up by the community, including co-ops

Oxford City Council has commissioned research on the viability of community-led housing.

The council is supporting research by Community First Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire Community Land Trust and the Oxfordshire Community Foundation to explore options on how community housing could be delivered sustainably within Oxford.

The initiative is part of a national scheme to support the promotion and delivery of more Community-Led Housing (CLH). This type of housing is about local people playing a leading and lasting role in delivering solutions to local housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities in ways that are difficult to achieve through a mainstream housing development. Community Land Trusts, co-operative housing, cohousing and community self-build are examples of CLH.

The Confederation of Co-operative Housing has coined the term Co-operative and Community-led Housing (CCLH), which formalises the CLH approach into a democratic membership organisation that is developed controlled by its members.

In March, Oxford council received £54,000 from the government’s Community Housing Fund and has commissioned this study to:

  • Examine and establish the needs for community-led housing in Oxford.
  • Undertake a feasibility study of how community-led housing can be practically delivered in Oxford.
  • Identify viable opportunities and routes to delivery.
  • Identify financial mechanisms for delivery that are sustainable, and
  • Provide technical advice that can be shared with community-led housing groups.

A report on the study will be available in autumn 2018.

Fiona Mullins, development project manager at Community First Oxfordshire, said: “In Oxford, we have spiralling housing costs, younger people unable to buy a first home, high levels of commuting and homelessness. Community Led Housing schemes such as Community Land Trusts and cohousing are a key part of the mix of solutions needed.

“Community-led development can lock in affordability in perpetuity, attract long-term patient finance, deliver homes of the type, size, tenure and quality that people want, promote positive attitudes towards new housing and act as a catalyst for the regeneration of neighbourhoods.”

Cllr Mike Rowley, Oxford City Council’s board member for housing, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting this study and getting the community involved in finding sustainable solutions to affordable housing delivery.

“Our housing crisis can’t be solved by the city council on its own, although we are leading the way. Many others have a part to play – Oxford’s businesses, developers, private landlords, universities, and not least, co-operative and community-led initiatives. We aim to work together for an affordable city made up of sustainable and thriving communities.”

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