Delivering a ‘top down meets bottom up’ CLH scheme

This section describes how a CLH scheme can be initiated by a developer and still be regarded as a community-led housing scheme.

  • CLH schemes can be developed by adding the community element - retrofitting - into a planned housing development. So long as the resulting scheme meets the CLH definition, local authorities should feel able to support it as a CLH initiative.
  • Developing a ‘top down meets bottom up’ CLH initiative does not require a pre-existing community organisation to be in place from the start. The community, whether it is a local development group, a community anchor, or a group of prospective tenants, should be involved at the earliest possible stage and given tangible power and influence over the development and/or subsequent management of the homes involved. But they do not have to lead the development process.

The result can be a triple win for developers, local authorities and local communities if the community is effectively involved to an extent that they can have a significant influence:

  • for developers, it can broaden their range of clients and products; help to build relationships with local communities, discharge their affordable housing obligations and assist the scheme through the planning process
  • for local communities, it can mean that a CLH scheme is developed where one otherwise might not have been considered, providing them with control over the management of the homes on completion
  • for local authorities it can assist in delivering more homes, often at a faster pace.
  • The Confederation of Cooperative Housing (CCH) has developed a ‘top down meets bottom up’ approach to partnership working. Much of this successful activity has been focused in Wales, with funding provided by the Welsh Government. The key stages are:  
  • A local authority, housing association or other organisation (eg developer or partnership) decides to set up a CCLH scheme
  • The partners involved decide on the type of scheme to be developed
  • The initiating organisation then recruits, trains and supports founder members to form a CLH group during the development period. These activities are usually carried out by a specialist CLH support organisation

With the right support put in place for the scheme participants, this method of developing CLH can lead to value for money housing management as well as providing considerable benefits for the community housed. It can also lead to individuals participating who otherwise might not get to hear about or be interested in CLH options.

The Confederation of Co-operative Housing published a guide in 2017, which includes detailed information on this type of CLH approach.


Old Oak Housing Co-operative, Carmarthen, Wales


Last updated in March 2018