Community-Led Housing

Community Led Housing (CLH) is about local people playing a leading and lasting role in solving local housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities in ways that are difficult to achieve through mainstream housing.

As part of a training programme funded by the Nationwide Foundation and led by Action with Communities in Rural England, CFO held two CLH conferences in summer 2018 at Chesterton Community Centre and Radnage Village Hall.

These events explored the transformational potential of Community Led Housing and the practicalities of achieving a successful project – from finance and governance to community engagement. 120 people attended from a range of organisations and backgrounds, including community activists, local councillors, developers, architects and local authority officers.

Many thanks to all those came along for their searching questions, comments and enthusiasm. Some feedback:

  • Informative and inspiring presentations
  • Really interesting range of speakers and knowledge
  • Impressed by numbers (and range of organisations) attending
  • Well organised & informative conference, speakers extremely passionate about the subject area, very motivational
  • Brilliant meeting of like-minded minds. We are planning our own 100% permanently affordable development of homes using our experience of profitable housing development
  • Very interesting and informative speakers, very comprehensive presentations of ideas and data
  • The conference has encouraged me to work harder on CLH projects

Click on our speakers below for their presentations.

Chesterton event – 13 June

Radnage event – 25 September

Charlie also gave an update on the Community Housing Fund.

Oxford Community Led Housing: Routes to Delivery

In March 2017, Oxford City Council received £54k Community Housing Fund (CHF) from the Government as part of a national scheme to support the promotion and delivery of more Community-Led Housing. Using its CHF funding for 2016/17, Oxford City Council has commissioned Community First Oxfordshire with partner organisations Oxfordshire Community Foundation and Oxfordshire Community Land Trust to undertake a research project to explore how community housing could be delivered sustainably within Oxford City.  A report will be available in autumn 2018.

The brief for the study sets out the main elements. For more information contact Fiona Mullins or Tom McCulloch. 

We are pleased to be working with partner organisations to steer and deliver this study: Oxfordshire Community Land Trust and Oxfordshire Community Foundation

Transition by Design is arranging outreach events for the study:

There is a series of events taking place to support the study. For more info: Facebook Page
Contact Nadhira: [email protected]


Community Led Housing: Introductory event

Thirty six people participated in an introductory event at the Old Fire Station in Oxford 7-9pm 5th October 2017. The aim was to bring together people with an interest in community led housing (CLH), share experiences and look at ways in which CLH can be supported.

Sue Brownill (Oxfordshire Community Land Trust) opened and chaired the meeting and invited all participants to introduce themselves and their interest in CLH. Fiona Mullins (Community First Oxfordshire) introduced the Oxford Community Led Housing project. Charlie Fisher (Oxfordshire Community Land Trust) summarised the different types of community Led housing.

Tom McCulloch (Community First Oxfordshire) led a discussion by Oxford CLH groups about their experiences, challenges and support needed.

  • Fran Ryan (Oxfordshire Community Land Trust) who spoke about Community Land Trust initiatives at Dean Court, attempted bid for the Wolvercote Papermill site and a recent unsuccessful bid for the Irving building on Hertford Street.
  • Sarah Westcott (Oxford Cohousing) briefed us on their efforts to secure a site in Headington Quarry which did not succeed.
  • Miranda Shaw (Kindling Housing Coop) explained their process to purchase a house as a fully mutual coop last year with support from Radical Routes and Dragonfly Housing Coop.
  • Alice Hemming (Dragonfly Housing Coop) described how their coop was set up in the early 1990s and shared her experience of living in a cooperative.
  • Fiona Mullins (Animate Cohousing) summarised the challenges of establishing a Community Interest Company for cohousing on a neighbourhood (city block) scale.


There was a lot of discussion, questions and many ideas shared. Some key issues raised were:

  • Access to information/gatekeeping. There is a lot of technical language that is alienating and puts people off. There are many CLH options – people need to know the alternatives that are available.
  • Everyone is working on voluntary time – there is a need for a personnel/support, a location where people can go to get information. The idea of a “Hub”.
  • Make links with other efforts: Make Space, ROBIN Network, Oxford University, Brookes University, Blenheim Palace, tap into student capacity to get them involved in setting up with information sharing.


Useful links suggested were:


The enthusiasm for CLH was strong among participants many of whom were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the benefits of community led approaches – where residents control the design and management of their homes and there is greater potential for relatively affordable housing. However, the challenges for under-resourced CLH groups are formidable given high land values and fierce competition from large speculative property developers.

Resources and guidance

Resources, guidance and toolkits

Useful guides & Contacts

National Community Land Trust Network

UK Cohousing Network

Confederation of Coop Housing

National Custom & Self Build Association


Self Help Housing

Click below for links to specific guidance on setting up and running a community led housing project.

Overview: What is Community Led Housing?


Community Land Trust:




Housing Co-operative:




Tenancy self-management



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