Five Community-led Housing Groups Win Free Advice from RTB Task Force

The Right to Build Task Force will lend its support and free advice to five community-led housing projects in the UK
Sofia Delgado
by Sofia Delgado
5th November 2018

Earlier this year, the RTB Task Force announced their free advice scheme and called for groups wishing to kick-start their community-led housing schemes to submit applications and register their interest.

The key eligibility criteria was for groups to deliver more than five homes, promote custom or self build and include an element of low cost or affordable housing.

The awards for the five winning groups comes in the form of targeted advice, helping each group progress to the next stage of their project as they work towards their goal of delivering a tailored community development.

Women from OWCH in the homes in North London

Learn more: Older Women’s CoHousing in North London

Dr Phil McGeevor, vice chair of the UK Cohousing Network, welcomed the initiative saying: “It will assist them in the co-design of their future properties and their vision to create communities that address issues of neighbourliness and loneliness as well as innovative and sustainable self-build ideas.”

The Task Force’s assistance will be used to help conducting feasibility studies, setting out financial parameters for site layouts and appraisals, and support with design and construction queries. Advice will also be available for business plans and project briefs.

The Cohousing Groups Receiving RTB Task Force’s advice are:

  • Clachan Cohousing Development Group: a multi-generational eco-housing group in Glasgow.
  • Kent Cohousing: a group working towards delivering sustainable, affordable cohousing for all ages.
  • Still Green Cohousing: a cohousing group for people over 50, working on projects in Milton Keynes and Bicester.
  • Plymouth Energy Community (PEC): working to deliver new affordable housing projects.
  • Alderley Edge Neighbourhood Planning Group: working to include self build and custom build in its Neighbourhood Plan.

Mario Wolf, Director of the Right to Build Task Force, said: “We are committed to working with more community-led housing groups. Custom and self Build housing enables communities to build more affordable homes, that are better designed, for local people.”

“I would encourage all groups who think they could benefit from our help to contact us and urge them to sign up to their local Right to Build registers so that local authorities can take their needs into account when making land available through their plans and strategies.”

Community-led housing is gaining momentum in the UK, with more councils working together with groups to deliver high-quality homes.

Deputy Housing Mayor James Murray with community self build group RUSS

Learn more: RUSS – Lewisham’s Community Self Build Legacy

In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced further support for self build groups by funding a new London Community-led Housing Hub, which provides information, advice and technical support for communities wishing to develop their own homes.

What’s more, groups that have successfully navigated planning for their community-led housing schemes are also offering their expertise to newcomers. The RUSS, in Lewisham, is delivering planning permission workshops.

How can the Right to Build Task Force help?

  • Facilitating training events about Custom and Self Build housing and how to deliver it,
  • Enabling neighbourhood planning initiatives, such as the preparation of planning policies and proposals to bring forward serviced building plots,
  • Offer general advice, such as understanding local demand, selecting suitable sites, preparing planning applications and sourcing professional services.

Anyone looking to set up their own community-led housing group should first sign up to the Right to Build registers from their local council. This is important to ensure that their group is known to their local authority.

The Right to Build registers are a vital tool as they give local authorities evidence of demand for custom homes locally, helping them to permission sufficient plots for those on the registers.

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