Tag Archives: community-led housing

Tales of the new Diggers & Dreamers: One year on – 16th March

Tales of the new Diggers & Dreamers: One year on

Community solutions to the housing crisis in Brighton & Hove

Sat 16th March, at the Gallery, University of Brighton, Grand Parade, BN2 0JY.
10.00am – 4.30pm: drop in or stay the whole day!
Please book here for FREE at eventbrite

We invite you to hear from local people about what it’s like to set up your own community-led housing project in Brighton & Hove, including building your own homes or taking over an existing building.

Over the last year over 150 people have been involved in developing their own housing projects in the city and this is a chance to hear what it is like, the ups and downs and to see the amazing homes and communities they are making.

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Community engagement and community-led housing – video

On 27 September, Keith Brown (Community Organiser for Nationwide) and Sam Kinch (Heart of Hastings) gave a workshop on how to get the wider community involved in a community-led housing project. They are both community organisers that are trying to build a community, not just houses.

Keith Brown gave the first half and talked about how he is working to build community around Oakfield Campus, a significant new housing development in Swindon. His role is to ensure those living locally are supported to have their say on the number and mix of properties to be built, and to help create positive change in their neighbourhood. Watch his half below:


(if the video above appears blurry when watching, click Settings and then Quality in the YouTube player and select the highest quality your internet connection can handle)
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Bunker Housing Co-op starts work on its first houses

An affordable, secure home is something that can seem out of reach for too low income many families in Brighton & Hove. But Bunker Housing Co-operative is making that dream a reality as it starts building its first two houses, in East Brighton. Bunker celebrated on Saturday 8 December, alongside its investors and supporters and members of Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT).

Bunker members are self-building their houses, with the help of architects, and other construction professionals. They are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. Run as a co-operative, the rent will be just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home. The co-operative will own the houses, which will be on a site leased from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Any residents will be members of the co-op and both landlords and tenants.

Watch this short video for more on the Bunker story

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Community-led development in the Heart of Hastings

Just along the coast, Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust are doing exciting things in community-led housing and land development. Some of the BHCLT staff team and Directors visited the CLT on Wednesday 28 November to have a look at what they’re up to and share our experiences with each other.

In the foyer of Rock House

As a coastal community, Hastings has some similarities to Brighton & Hove but it’s on the brink of a wave of gentrification that we have already experienced and is about to become somewhere where house prices outstrip wages.

We met Jess, Shelley, Sam, and James from the Heart of Hastings team at Rock House, a building which James told us is the centre of a ‘co-operative ecosystem’. Rock House is in the White Rock area of Hastings – where much of Heart of Hastings’ work is focused. It is one of the town’s poorest neighbourhoods but is changing rapidly.

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Brighton families start work on self-build project costing £225,000 a house

15 November 2018

Photo opportunity: Bunker Housing Co-operative celebration event
Saturday 8 December 2018, 2.00-5.00pm. The Edge Community Centre, 83 Pankhurst Avenue, Brighton, BN2 9AE. Arrive by 2.15pm for the opportunity to see the Bunker site
on Plumpton Road, a five-minute walk away.
There will be food and drinks.

Bunker Housing Co-op has begun self-building its first affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low income families on its first site in the Queen’s Park area of Brighton. The rent will be just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home.

Bunker encourages others to sign up to the Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register to show the demand for this kind of project in the city.

With the help of architects, and other construction professionals, Bunker have started building their homes using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. The project is set to be a great example of what is possible with self-build community-led housing.

Martyn Holmes and his partner Agata Bogacka, who live in Brighton with their two children, co-founded Bunker with another family in 2014. They had spent five years trying to find ways to secure affordable housing in the city. The idea developed as they chatted with their neighbours over the garden fence. Living in damp, cramped and overpriced private rented accommodation, both families, despite working full time, were struggling and fed up with their housing situation.

Bunker have leased their first site, on Plumpton Road, from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). They have a 99-year lease and are making use of a difficult site that a commercial developer wouldn’t be attracted to. They are working with architects from AURAA Studio in London, who have experience in smaller sights, specialise in bespoke sustainable architectural design and most importantly understand and enjoy the challenge of working on community-led developments.

Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is encouraging people who support projects like Bunker to join the local Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register with Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Registering is a good way of improving the chances for Brighton residents to self/custom build their own homes.

People in England have the Right to Build, as set out by legislation announced in 2015 and updated in 2016. The Right to Build requires all councils to maintain a register of individual and groups of individuals who want to build their own home. It places a duty on them to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced building plots to meet demand on a rolling three-year basis.

BHCLT is a central resource for community-led housing in Brighton & Hove, including housing co-operatives, cohousing and self-build projects, developed through local people working together. Our work to support community-led housing is being supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund.

Bunker, whose members are low income, mostly self-employed people in Brighton & Hove, now have eight adult members, along with several children. They hope to acquire a second site soon, in order to expand their project and house more of their members, all of whom are currently living in private rented accommodation.

Martyn Holmes, Bunker co-founder and soon to be Plumpton Road resident said, “Bunker has given us a way out of the private rented sector which is increasingly unaffordable for so many people in Brighton. We believe that building our own community-led and owned housing is the best housing solution for our families and will allow us to stay in the city that we have helped to build. It’s been a tough journey in many ways, but it’s definitely been worthwhile, we are really excited to move into our new homes later this year and get cracking on the second site.”

Andrea Jones, Programme Manager for the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme said, “Bunker is such an inspiring project and shows what people can do when they work together.

“You don’t need to have construction experience to do something like this; there are building projects out there led by all sorts of people, including groups of women, and people with learning disabilities.  There is loads of support available through BHCLT and nationally. People have got to start signing up for the self-build register if they want to see things change. It shows the demand that is out there for self-build plots of land.”

Registration for the Brighton & Hove City Council’s (BHCC) Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register can be done via their website at: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/housing/general-housing/self-build-and-custom-housebuilding-register

More information about self-build community led housing and how to join the register can be found at: http://bit.ly/SelfBuildBH

For more information and to arrange local interviews with self-builders, or members of Bunker Housing Co-operative, contact Amy Hall, BHCLT Communications Officer on comms@bhclt.org.uk

 Notes for editors

  1. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. It is one of over 280 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. Announced in 2016, a national Community Housing Fund of £60 million was shared between almost 150 councils to help tackle the problem of high levels of second home ownership in their communities. Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) was allocated £464,500 and the fund was in turn, awarded to BHCLT in October 2017, which is acting as the lead partner in this programme of work, alongside Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) to deliver the Community-Led Housing Programme.
  3. The ‘Right to Build’ places two legal obligations on Local Authorities in England:
    1. Under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 all Local Authorities in England must keep a register of people and groups of people who are seeking to purchase serviced plots of land in the authority’s area and to have regard to that register when carrying out their functions. Registers were required from 1st April 2016.
    2. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 requires all Local Authorities in England to grant sufficient ‘development permissions’ to meet the demand for Custom and Self-build housing in their area, as established by their register, on a rolling basis. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 1 April 2016 to 31 October 2016 should be granted by 31 October 2019. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 31 October 2016 to 31 October 2017 should be granted by 31 October 2020 and so on.
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Bunker is on site! Time to celebrate

We are so excited that one of the housing co-operatives we have been working with as part of the Community-Led Housing Programme has started work on its first two houses. We will be celebrating on Saturday 8 December, 2.00pm at The Edge Community Centre in Brighton. Sign up at Eventbrite to join us.

Bunker Housing Co-op is a self-build co-operative, building affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low income families and individuals. Their first site is on Plumpton Road in the Queen’s Park area of Brighton. They are due to be able to move in by summer 2019 with a rent of just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home.

With the help of architects, and other construction professionals, Bunker are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. They have leased their first site, on Plumpton Road, from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). The project is set to be a great example of what is possible with self-build community-led housing.

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Christmas social with Co-operative Housing in Brighton and Hove (CHIBAH)

This year we will be joining forces with Co-operative Housing in Brighton and Hove (CHIBAH) for our Christmas social.

It will take place on Wednesday 12 December, from 8.00pm after the weekly group skills workshop, at the Lord Nelson pub, 36 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, BN1 4ED. Come along and celebrate all we have achieved this year!

There’ll be a drink and a bite to eat for everyone, and not a post-it note in sight!

Please book your place here at Eventbrite so we know how much food to provide.

Accessibility

The pub has a small step in the entrance – they have told us they don’t usually have a problem with wheelchairs getting in.

The pub is close to Brighton train station, where many buses also stop.

The closest parking is Trafalgar Street Car Park.

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Seeing is believing with Cornwall CLT

On 17 October, Amy Hall from the BHCLT team went to a National CLT Network See it and Believe it event in Duloe, Cornwall, including a tour of houses under development nearby.

Established in 2006, Cornwall Community Land Trust is now one of the biggest in the country. It develops its own housing as well as supporting and advising the many other smaller CLTs across the county. Between 20007 and 2018 Cornwall CLT has built, supported or enabled 236 homes.

We heard from Director of Cornwall CLT, Andrew George that CLTs are trying to address specific local need in a particular way. He said a hard headed, pragmatic approach was needed as, “you can’t knit houses out of hope.”

George explained that in Cornwall there are more than 20,000 families on the housing register and many others who never put their names down because they know they will never get anything through the council. People need to be on the register to rent through Cornwall CLT so they have actively encouraged people to join.

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How community rights can bring us more affordable and community-led housing – video

On 5th September 2018, Dave Boyle (The Community Shares Company) gave a workshop on how community rights can bring us more affordable and community-led housing.


(if the video above appears blurry when watching, click Settings and then Quality in the YouTube player and select the highest quality your internet connection can handle)

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Weekly community-led housing group skills workshops until 12 December 2018

Are you involved in creating a housing community? Want to create a strong group? Want to build a community that is nourishing and practical, enabling and effective?

There are ways to enjoy finding the answers to these questions! BHCLT member Marcela López Levy, is running FREE weekly drop-in workshops on group skills, once a month combining with a BHCLT social. The dates of the socials are the 21 November and 12 December. This is a good opportunity to learn and practice community-building and project management skills in a supportive environment. Bring your experience and your questions.

Workshops will run every Wednesday, 6.30pm-8.00pm, until 12 December. They will take place in The Lord Nelson pub.

For more details contact groupwork@playen.net.

The workshops are free, but we require participants to become BHCLT members (fee £1). Join here: bhclt.org.uk/membership

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Could community-led housing tackle London’s housing crisis?

Amy Hall from the BHCLT team was in London on Wednesday 19 September for an event on community-led housing in the capital, hosted by Impact Hub Islington.

The housing system in the UK is broken and community-led housing could provide part of the solution. This was the starting point for the ‘How could we make community-led cohousing the next big thing in London?’ event, outlined by facilitator Joost Beunderman, Director of Impact Hub Islington.

“Pumping more money into a broken system is not going to get us the change we really need,” he pointed out.

Alex Whitcroft, a Director at KIN, was the main speaker for the evening. KIN are architects, ethical developers, and community enablers for sustainable and community-led housing. He is also a co-founder of community housing group Cohousing London seeking to build inclusive affordable homes across London.

Alex highlighted, as well as there being a massive housing shortage, the built environment has a big impact on the environment. “We are a big part of the problem that the world is facing,” he said.

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Community Housing Fund open for capital funding bids

Phase Two of the Community Housing Fund is now open to eligible organisations and groups to bid for capital grants to fund the costs of acquiring land and building community-led housing schemes. The £163 million fund is available for community-led groups who want to realise their affordable housing ambitions across England up to 31 March 2020.

This funding is best for groups who are in the later stages of planning and ready to purchase land or housing.

Phase One of the fund launched in July 2018 and supports applications for capacity building and pre-development revenue funding. The format to apply to Phase Two is almost the same as for Phase One.

Organisations which intend to be the landlord of low-cost rental properties funded by Phase Two of the Community Housing Fund must be – or intend to become – registered as a provider of social housing (a ‘registered provider’) with the Social Housing Regulator.

Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust is part of ongoing conversations across the city about who is best placed to be a registered provider and the most efficient and effective way to make sure we bring as much funding for community-led housing into the city as possible. We are also waiting for guidance from Homes England on this issue and others related to the Fund.

Sign up to our mailing list or watch this space for updates.

Find out more about the Community Housing Fund, including relevant documents and application guidance

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