The challenges facing Local Authorities

Research carried out for the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network’s Commission into Community-Led Housing – Community-Led Housing: a Key Role for Local Authorities, highlighted the following five key challenges that many local authorities face when considering community-led housing as part of their housing strategies. It also provided many examples of local authorities that have successfully met these challenges. The toolkit provides resources to enable local authorities and their housing association partners, who may be less familiar with community-led housing, to tackle all these challenges head-on.

Ways of dealing with a lack of strategic commitment

  • Housing strategies can include community-led schemes as a part of affordable housing delivery and strategic housing market assessments
  • In low demand areas, empty property strategies can include extra resources to buy and refurbish empty homes through partnership work with existing community-led organisations
  • Housing allocation policies can raise awareness of community-led housing as an option
  • Custom and Self-Build Registers can be used to identify the potential for community-led projects; waiting and transfer lists can also be used to identify founder members for schemes
  • Procurement policies can give community-led housing providers the opportunity to bid to develop sites, either alone or in partnership with mainstream developers
  • Planning policies in Local Plans and Supplementary Planning Documents can be supportive of community-led housing and give it priority in certain circumstances
  • Local authorities can appoint Member and Officer ‘Champions’ to act as focal points for community-led housing initiatives

Ways of coping with a lack of internal capacity to support CLH

  • Local authorities with Community Housing Fund  allocations can use some of the money to employ a specialist Community-Led Housing Officer
  • Local authorities can bring different departments together to share knowledge and experience of community-led housing with external specialists
  • Local authorities and housing associations can facilitate the establishment of independent technical support hubs for community led housing
  • Local authorities and housing associations can support the establishment and operation of regional community-led housing networks

Ways of addressing a lack of land availability

Ways of dealing with a lack of financial resources

Ways of addressing a lack of demand

  • Local authorities can stimulate demand by including supportive policies within their housing and planning strategies
  • Local authorities can join forces with others to secure external funding for a scoping study to establish and stimulate demand for community-led housing
  • Housing associations can offer to transfer surplus stock in low demand neighbourhoods to community-led housing organisations for modernisation and/or conversion


Last updated in April 2018