New Co-op homes through an LA and HA partnership



  • New build development schemes for housing co-operatives are now a rarity in England, but not in the West Midlands Borough of Redditch. One of the region’s largest housing association groups has been promoting co-operative housing development here for the past fifteen years
  • "Accord Housing Association has 13,000 homes across the West Midlands and a key part of our role has always been to promote, develop and support independent housing co-operatives, through two of our subsidiaries. Our on-going investment in co-operative housing development in Redditch has been one of our big success stories. We would like to see other housing associations following our lead and offering communities a real opportunity to provide and manage their own homes” Chris Handy, Chief Executive, Accord Housing Association
  • The story behind Redditch Co-operative Homes (now part of Accord) is one of successful partnership between a local authority and a major housing association – not just to provide affordable homes, but to do so in a way that maximises local accountability and control
  • Redditch is a former new town in the West Midlands, with a population of 85,000. Back in 1998, the Borough Council was becoming frustrated by its inability to build more council housing to meet local needs. Although housing associations had already built 800 homes in the Borough, none of these providers were locally based. Councillors felt that something different was needed
  • The Council therefore took the highly unusual and unique step of running a competition to find a provider who would not only supply more affordable homes, but would also do it from a local base, on a democratic and accountable basis
  • Following this process, it selected Accord as its development partner and secured agreement that it would set up a dedicated local organisation to support co-op development in the Borough – Redditch Co-operative Homes (RCH). Crucially, it also agreed to the transfer of four sites for co-operative development for a competitive price in different neighbourhoods
  • This pioneering approach has since delivered approaching 450 co-operative homes across five neighbourhoods in the Borough, with a further 77 in the development pipeline
  • The five neighbourhood co-operatives are self-managing, fully-mutual co-ops – all tenants are members and all members are either existing or future tenants. They are also all registered providers with the Homes and Communities Agency. Between them they deliver a wide range of co-op housing provision – for older people, families and young people, with an increasing focus on eco and sustainable new homes
  • Each neighbourhood co-op has a seven year lease on its properties which is long enough for the co-ops to grant a tenancy and get people to become tenant members, but short enough to avoid Homes and Communities Agency rules on disposal of housing association assets. All housing co-op properties are currently exempt from Right to Buy legislation
  • Eighteen years after the initial competition, councillors in Redditch remain very supportive and enthusiastic about housing co-ops. They like the fact that people in their town are providing homes for themselves, making use of a locally-based support agency, backed by a strong housing provider. It is a model that works well for them
  • The Council’s on-going support for co-operatives in general and RCH in particular has provided the platform for a significant investment in this form of community-led development and on a scale which is hard to find elsewhere in England

More information on housing cooperative development in Redditch can be found here.

Relevant Resources

Joint Working Protocol


Published in March 2018