Community-Led Housing

Oxford Community Led Housing: Routes to Delivery

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.

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 [email protected] or [email protected]

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 are 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]

First event: October 5th 2017,  7-9pm at the Old Fire Station.
Click here for the summary.

Come and find the community led housing stall at the Community Action Group Skill Share, County Hall, Saturday 11th November 10-5pm

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.

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