Community approaches to delivery

About Community-led Housing

Community-led housing is already a success story in Northumberland. Utilising funds made available by Northumberland County Council from its allocation of the government’s Community Housing Fund, CAN is seeking to build on this success.

CAN is supporting Community-Led housing, which puts local communities in the driving seat. It hosts Communities CAN which has been established as a ‘support hub’ for community–led housing, charged with promoting and supporting a broad range of these type of initiatives across the county.

Visit the Communities CAN website

We are working with Social Regeneration Consultants, Glendale Gateway Trust and others to ensure the support required by individual communities is available and to identify specific opportunities. We have surveyed Parish and Town Councils and run a series of local workshops to explain a bit more about community-led housing. Communities CAN is very happy to meet with groups across Northumberland to discuss any specific ideas or opportunities.

The presentations used at our workshops together with a short film about the Lyvennet Community Trust in Cumbria which was shown at the workshops can be accessed below.

Workhop presentation 1

Workshop presentation 2

Workshop presentation 3

Lynennet Community Trust film


What is community-led housing?

Community-led housing schemes have six main features:

  • They put local communities in the driving seat. You decide where homes are built, what they look like and who occupies them; you create community assets which can generate income for your town or village which can be used to support other local priorities
  • They are usually small scale – most developments are less than 10 homes and some are much smaller. No two developments are the same.
  • Although most schemes are usually set up and run by local people in their own communities, many are also supported by housing associations, local authorities or regional and national organisations
  • They provide genuinely affordable homes for rent, shared ownership, sale or self-build on sites that are often difficult or even impossible for mainstream housing providers to develop
  • Schemes meet long-term local housing needs, by the community exercising full control over how and where the homes are provided and retaining a legal and/or financial interest in them, ensuring they will always be available to local people who need them and at a price they can afford
  • Community-led housing is not for profit, involving considerable voluntary effort from those who decide to become involved. It’s an effort that several hundred communities across the country have already made, with many successful developments initiated by Parish Councils.

One of the most popular routes to create community-led housing is through a Community Land Trust (CLT). Over 170 CLTs now exist in England and Wales, half of which were formed between 2013 and 2015.  CLTs are community organisations set up and run by local people to develop and manage homes and other assets.  These remain in the ownership of the community who have a strong say in the implementation of local connection criteria in relation to tenants.  You can find out more by visiting the National Community Land Trust Network website:

Northumberland has some fantastic examples of CLTs including Glendale Gateway Trust in Wooler, Holy Island and SCATA in Stocksfield.


Parish Councils can get involved in a variety of ways if they want to help in the delivery of affordable homes. The Rural Housing Alliance, in conjunction with the Rural Services Network, produced a useful Parish Council Guide to Affordable Housing in 2014 which is available at the following link:


Effective community involvement in rural housing development is essential to achieve successful schemes which meet local need and are welcomed locally.  Some organisations work very hard to ensure schemes are developed in locations and in a way which communities support.  The Chartered Institute of Housing, in conjunction with the Rural Services Network produced a guide on ‘How to involve the community in rural housing development’ which highlights some key success factors.  The guide is available via this link:


Strategy launched at community-led Housing conference for the North East in 2018


The Nationwide Foundation funded a series of events around the country aimed at raising the profile and understanding of Community-led Housing. These events, coordinated through the ACRE network, were particularly aimed at parish and local authority councillors, planning and housing officers, land agents, housing associations, consultants and community organisations.

The North East event was organised by CAN and held at the Sjøvoll Centre near Durham on Wednesday 20 June 2018.

Download an agenda for the day.

The objective of this conference was to increase the understanding of community-led housing as a mechanism for achieving the provision of sustainable affordable homes which are available in perpetuity for people with a strong local connection to the relevant community. Community-led housing is all about putting the local community in the driving seat and the conference will explain how this can be achieved in more detail, utilising local examples of where it has already been done.

The North East event doubled up as the launch of a new strategy for community-led housing covering the entire region. This strategy contains a number of ambitions aimed at influencing policy makers and fund holders to help more local communities get involved.

Download the Community Led Housing North East strategy