A national body that encourages local people to develop their own homes has backed Croydon Council’s decision to offer some of its land for community-led housing projects.
At its meeting on Monday night, Croydon Council’s cabinet agreed a pilot scheme where local groups can bid to develop, own and manage their own affordable homes on up to five council-owned pieces of land.
The National Community Land Trust Network, a registered charity which works to get greater funding and political support for its membership, has praised Croydon’s scheme for having “some of the best policies in the country”.
Croydon Council will open the bidding process for community groups later this year, and those who submit successful business cases will receive design and logistical support from Brick by Brick (BxB), the council-created developer that will complete its own first housing schemes early this year.
As well as offering professional advice on how locals can get involved, the council will also carry out initial due diligence checks on the five sites on bidders’ behalf, plus the community groups will receive construction support if their schemes receive planning permission.
As a result of approving this scheme, the council will encourage bids from local groups, including Croydon CLT and Norbury CLT. It has already begun work with the London Community Land Trust and Croydon Citizens to support their interest in creating a community land trust scheme for affordable housing in the borough.
“Community-led schemes are part of the overall mix we need to tackle a nationwide shortage of good-quality affordable homes, so I’m delighted that the council will now help make this happen in Croydon.
“This type of housing is about giving local people practical support and encouragement to make their ideas a reality, and I look forward to seeing what bids come forward in our borough.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services
National CLT Network director Tom Chance said: “The community-led housing scheme approved at the Croydon Council cabinet meeting last night includes some of the best policies in the country and in future should help many more Croydon community groups to develop much-needed affordable housing with local control.”
Since being set up by the council in 2016, BxB has received planning consent for over 40 sites so far, providing 1,036 new homes. 498 of these (48%) are designated affordable. Of this 48%, half will be genuinely affordable rent (maximum 65% of the private market rate), and the rest shared ownership. BxB’s first developments, at sites off Beulah Hill and Auckland Rise in Upper Norwood, will be completed early in 2019.