19-home veterans self build scheme starts on site

Stonehouse Housing Association Launch

A new community build project supporting veterans to self build their own homes has started in Waterworks Lane, Leominster, Hereford. Stonewater Housing Association is working with the Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) and the Royal British Legion to create 19 new homes on a mixed development of two-bed flats and a range of houses, with the final homes available for affordable rent.

Many of the homes will be on offer to ex-service personnel, with the opportunity for up to nine veterans to be involved as builders on the scheme, where they will receive training and support. Veterans that help build the scheme will then be offered the option to rent one of the properties on completion, gaining a secure family home and a set of valuable and transferable skills.

Stonewater’s Waterworks Lane project illustrates how a range of organisations can work with local councils to provide much-needed new homes using alternative models, that can bring a range of sustainable goals to the table, including improving lives. The project will benefit from Homes England funding, part of a £224m award to the strategic Stonewater and Guiness Partnership that will create 4,500 homes by 2020.

Matthew Crucefix, Assistant Director of Development (West), said: “At Stonewater our commitment to providing everyone with a place they can call home is at the core of everything we do. In Herefordshire, there is a large armed forces presence and so there is a constant need for veteran accommodation.

We’re proud to lead the way alongside our community partners and show other organisations how important schemes like this are for the wider community. We hope to inspire others to take on similar projects in other areas of the country with similar challenges.”

Councillor Barry Durkin, at Herefordshire Council, said: “We are committed to supporting local veterans across Herefordshire and this new self-build partnership with Stonewater and Alabaré is a great opportunity to provide more affordable housing for veterans.

“This scheme not only provides much needed homes but will also provide the veterans with the training and skills needed to not only help build their own homes and but hopefully also gain future employment.”

Since being set up in the late 1980’s, Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) has helped hundreds of homeless or vulnerable people to have the opportunity to build their own home. From May 2019 CSBA has become part of Alabaré, which manages the day-to-day operations.

CSBA has completed over 178 self-build projects across the UK to date, developing in-excess of 1200 housing units to some of the most disadvantaged members of the local community. Their award winning schemes have included the Nelson Project in Plymouth – a 24-home site that included 12 self-build homes for the military veterans and 12 affordable homes.

Major Ken Hames, MBE, of Alabaré, said: “We’ve worked on similar projects in other parts of the country which, whilst challenging to get off the ground, really make a long-term difference.

“For the veterans fortunate enough to be part of the project they have a unique opportunity to gain the skills that could lead to long term employment, and the support to ultimately be able to live successful, independent lives once more. Together they will be creating a community that they can call home.”


Read about the CSBA’s Nelson Project


Photograph: From left to right: Tina Wood, Housing Development Officer, Herefordshire Council; Clare Bray, Development Manager, Stonewater; Karl Arrowsmith, Development Officer, Alabaré; Leigh-Ann Jones, Development Manager, Stonewater; Major Ken Hames MBE, Alabaré; Martin Walsh, Regional Outreach Officer Midlands; The Royal British Legion, Simon Deakin, Senior Contracts Manager, Harper Group Construction; Nick Aubrey, Project Manager, Harper Group Construction; Matthew Crucefix, Assistant Development Director, Stonewater; and, Scott Porter, Site Manager, Harper Group Construction

Community Led Homes website supports more communities to build

Community Led Homes website

Community led housing got a boost recently with the launch of Community Led Homes, a website that provides funding, resources and hands-on support for anyone in the community-led housing sector. NaCSBA is aware that a lack of information can be a barrier to growth in the sector, and welcomes the site, which is a partnership project between the National CLT Network, Locality, UK Cohousing Network and the Confederation of Cooperative Housing.

Hands-on support

Face-to-face support can make a real difference to a project and most successful community-led housing projects have worked very closely with an Enabling Hub or a community-led housing adviser to help ensure their site gets built. Expert knowledge and advice are a core part of this, which is where Community Led Homes can help.

An Enabling Hub is a regional organisation that provides one-to-one support to groups. The evidence shows that when an enabling hub exists, the more community led homes are built in the vicinity, partly through sharing best practice and creating awareness of issues and stumbling points in the journey.

Enabling Hubs will:

  •  provide professional support and funding that will help you to progress your project more quickly,
  •  introduce you to professionals such as architects, planners and surveyors,
  •  put you in touch with local authorities and other potential partners such as housing associations and developers, and
  •  arrange peer-to-peer sessions where you can network with other community led housing groups.

As well as a range of general advice, you can find an Enabling Hub near you using the tool on the Community Led Homes website. And if there’s not an enabling hub local to you, there is an extensive network of advisers across the country who are able to provide you with the same professional support and guidance that you’d receive from an enabling hub.

If there isn’t a local enabling hub in your area contact the support team for help and advice on 020 0396 7795 or email them.


Additional sources of information

Other sources of help and advice exist, including the websites of the organisations that make up the Community Led Homes site, many of which include links to individual groups’ websites. Some groups, such as LILAC Cooperative and Broadhempston CLT have websites sharing their own experiences, or organise open days that can help fledgling groups understand the joys and pitfalls of a built project. RUSS in Lewisham also runs a Self Build Academy that educates and gives people first-hand experiences on site.

Elsewhere some councils are very active in supporting groups, with some having dedicated professionals working with groups, or publishing their own support information, such as Teignbridge District Council’s Guide to Community-led Housing. London has its own dedicated site, Community Homes London, which includes projects across the capital.

Teignbridge Guide community.

The Self Build Portal also has in-depth help and advice on how to build, the routes and issues to be aware of, which are invaluable. In addition, community-led groups often cross over into semi-professional status in how involved they get with different aspects of their sites, and as such the Right to Build Task Force has detailed case studies and briefing notes that may offer advice, including case studies, such as OWCH in London and Broadhempston CLT.

A note when researching community-led projects – new groups should be aware that groups often end up being referred to in two ways – both by the name of their group and the name of their site. For example, you may find writing about a group under Older Women’s Cohousing (OWCH) or New Ground, the name of their development. Other examples include K1 Cohousing and Marmalade Lane, Broadhempston CLT and Easterways.

Join RUSS on a guided tour of Bristol’s exemplary community led housing schemes

St Werburgs

RUSS (Rural Urban Synthesis Society), the Lewisham-based community-led self-build housing group, is leading a tour to some of Bristol’s most innovative community-led housing schemes. The trip offers a chance to get up close to the schemes and meet some of the residents, find out about their own journeys and how best practice has emerged.

RUSS’s School of Community-led Housing offers individuals, community groups and housing professionals the chance to learn from RUSS’s years of experience and gain information about how to set up a community-led housing project. The the trip is part of its work to educate around self build and community-led housing.

Bristol is one of the best places in the UK to go to see great examples of community-led housing in England, and RUSS School participants can now see for themselves on this exclusive tour of some of the most developed and inspiring community-led housing schemes in the country.

The one day visit will include:

  • Ashley Vale/The Yard – a self-build development, now home of Ecomotive, Bristol CLT and the Bristol CLH Hub
  • Bridge Farm – a new self-build community and a new type of social housing hinged around a renovated farmhouse and outbuildings
  • The Courtyard – Bristol’s first purpose built co-housing project.

DATE 10 August 2019

TIME 10-5pm, excluding travel times

TICKETS £25 including booking fee and VAT – includes entry but not rail travel or taxis so these will need to be bought by attendees (taxis are expected to be no more than £15 pp if used – it is possible to walk between the residential sites. Ashley Vale to the Courtyard is about 10 minutes walk. The walk to Bridge Farm is about 20-30 minutes.)

LUNCH Lunch is included in the ticket price, provided by Ashley Vale residents. When booking please let us know if you have any dietary requirements.

TRAVEL The group will be taking an 8.30 train from Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads – you are advised to buy your ticket as soon as possible as prices will rise. From Temple Meads we will share taxis to Ashley Vale and then on to the other sites. Return to London is expected at about 6pm.

If you do not wish to take the train you are welcome to make your own car sharing arrangements. There is no parking in the Yard but there is free parking in the residential sites nearby.

Book your place on Eventbrite 

Lancaster City Council’s Self-Build and Community Build Event

Lancaster Self Build Event

Lancaster City Council is holding an information evening for prospective self and community builders on Thursday 20th June 2019 at The Storey, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster.

Starting at 6pm with presentations from an architect, Lancaster planning, a self-builder and Action with Communities who offer help and advice for community builders. This will be followed by exhibitors and the chance to get advice from planners, architects, passive, eco and modular house suppliers and builders including Beattie Passive, The Green Build Store, Hartwyn Eco Build and Simply Modular, The Penrith Building Society, Action for Communities and the Community Land Trust.

To find out more and register for the event visit Lancaster City Council’s dedicated page.

If your company provides goods and services which may be of interest to self-builders and would like to exhibit at the event please email, planningpolicy@lancaster.gov.uk


Eden District Council’s Build your Home, Build your Community event, Penrith

Eden District Council, in partnership with Andy Lloyd of the National Community Land Trust Network, is running a free self-build, custom-build and community-led housing event in Penrith on 4 July. With exhibitors and presentations, the event is ideal for any prospective custom, self and community builders wanting to get help or advice, find like-minded people or take the next step on their ambition to create their own home.

Kicking off at 6pm at the Rheged Centre, there’s an hour allocated for networking and talking to exhibitors, with presentations starting at 7pm.

TV presenter and architectural technician Charlie Luxton will be sharing his enthusiastic personal experiences of self building, before a range of presentations that will help you discover more about building as part of a community, planning, finance and more.

Exhibitors and advice*:
• Andy Lloyd, National Community Land Trust Network Technical Advisor
ACT Cumbria and Lancaster Community-led Housing Hub
Atkinson Building Contractors
2030 Architects
JIW Properties
LoCal Homes
Penrith Building Society
• Thomas Armstrong – kit systems
Unity Trust Bank
Hyde Harrington
Manning Elliott
Green Footsteps
• Ecological Building Systems
• Eden District Council – Officers from Planning, Building Control and Community-led Housing

And presentations from:
• Charlie Luxton, architectural designer, writer and TV presenter
• ACT Cumbria and Lancaster Community-led Housing Hub
• Patterdale Community Land Trust / Eden Housing Association partnership
Lancaster Forgebank Co-housing
• Ecomotive, a social enterprise supporting group projects with an emphasis on sustainability and affordability
• Rod Hughes from 2030 Architects
• Rob Jerams from LoCaL Homes, a not-for-profit advanced housing manufacturer, offering high performance, low carbon housing solutions
• Bruce Armstrong-Payne, local self-builder and Planning Consultant
• Michelle Stevens from Penrith Building Society.

*Subject to change

While the event is free, places are limited so registration is a must.

Andy Lloyd is a community housing adviser to the National Community Land Trust Network. He provides technical support to communities and local authorities in the Penrith area, helping to deliver community owned affordable housing projects, such as:
• Lyvennet Community Trust in Crosby Ravensworth
• Keswick Community Housing Trust
• Lune Valley Community Land Trust in Halton, Lancashire

Community-led housing includes self-build, co-housing, co-operative housing, self-help housing and community land trusts (CLTs). This housing enables communities to become active players in their own sustainable development.

Sign up to Eden District Council’s Self and Custom Build Register.


EXHIBIT: If your company provides goods and services which may be of interest to self-builders and would like to exhibit at the event please email: andy@communityhousingprojectdevelopment.uk

Find out more about Build your Home, Build your Community event here.

Wyre Forest Community Land Trust launch event

Wyre Forest CLT

Wyre Forest Community Land Trust is a new community-led housing group, with a launch event on 18 May at Kidderminster Town Hall. Now officially registered with the FCA as a Community Benefit Society, the new group is open to all Wyre Forest residents, with an emphasis on eco homes and energy efficiency.

The launch event will involve group discussions around affordable and attainable housing and is an opportunity for new members to find out more and get information and advice. It’s also open to local people interested in self-build projects (via the District’s Self-Build Register).

Informatione will be available on:

  • Volunteering with the CLT
  • What is a CLT and information on types of Community-led Housing
  • Community Questionnaire
  • Self build and affordable self build / low cost modular homes
  • Cohousing
  • Affordable homes to rent
  • Eco homes

The event run on 18 May between 10:30-12:30 at Kidderminster Town Hall, details, and general information is available on the Wyre Forest Community Land Trust website.

Get your group project started with RUSS’s community self build school

RUSS Church Grove Plans

RUSS, the Rural Urban Synthesis Society, is volunteer-led Community Land Trust working to deliver its first community homes project in Lewisham, London. A core part of its ethos is the delivery of training for other communities through its RUSS School of Community-led Housing.

The school offers individuals, community groups and housing professionals the chance to learn from RUSS’s experiences of bringing on community-led housing projects.

Currently RUSS is working to deliver Church Grove in London (main picture), a community self build project of 33 new sustainable, customised homes in Ladywell. As well as the school, the build phase of Church Grove will include training opportunities for local apprentices and would-be self builders.

Community-led housing is a way for local communities to address their housing needs by building their own decent and affordable homes, offering a viable alternative for those whose housing needs are not met by the mainstream housing market.

The school attempts to answer the questions of how communities can organise and access community-led housing, including setting up, and maintaining a group, sourcing land, organising finance and negotiating with local authorities?

Setting up a community-led housing project

The School offers a range of modules featuring workshops that are interactive, with exercises designed to stimulate discussion around the issues of community-led housing, offering the opportunity to learn from RUSS’s experiences so far.

The workshops also are a great opportunity to meet others interested in joining or forming community housing groups.

RUSS has developed 2 workshop modules so far – Module 1 and Module 2, and it also hosts talks and site visits.

Module 1: How to set up a community-led housing project is running from Saturday, 9th March 2019. 10am to 4pm

The one-day workshop takes place at Borough, London, and costs £20-25, excluding lunch.

Venue: CDS Co-operatives, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4YR

The format is informal, classroom style, allowing easy interaction and discussion.

Module 1 is an entry-level workshop that supports individuals and groups wanting to set up a community-led housing project, find out more about community-led housing in general and RUSS’s own story.

Topics include:

  • Creating a group – finding people who share your vision
  • Organising – networking and building your membership
  • Land – where to find it
  • Local authorities – how to work with them
  • Finance
  • Communications
  • Crowdfunding
  • Ongoing networking

Who is Module 1 suitable for?

  • Individuals or groups looking for an affordable home solution
  • Individuals or groups wanting to develop a community-led housing project/campaign
  • Individuals or groups looking for a community-led housing solution for a specific area
  • Individuals or groups curious about community-led housing, CLTs etc
  • Individuals or groups curious about self-build
  • Council staff and consultants wanting to know more about community-led housing
  • Students and Architects interested in affordable housing, self-build, housing economics, community

Additional community-led housing support

Anyone wanting to find out more about community-led housing should visit the websites of UK Cohousing, and the National CLT Network, or the new Community-led Homes site. In addition the Right to Build Task Force has lots of help and advice for groups, such as case studies like New Ground and Vrijburcht, and is also able to help community-led housing groups with direct support, available at a discounted rate.

Anyone considering building should first sign up to their local custom and self build registers at the Right to Build Portal, to alert the council to the fact they want to build – you sign up as individuals but also as a group.

Read more about RUSS’s ambitions for its trainging hub:

RUSS granted planning for training Hub and Self Build housing

New community guide to delivering custom and self build

Teignbridge Community Guide

Teignbridge District Council has worked with the Right to Build Task Force to produce a guide for any community looking to deliver self and custom build opportunities locally.
A Guide to Delivering Custom and Self Build Housing Developments in your Community supports anyone looking to grow opportunities locally by clearly setting out what custom and self build projects can deliver, together with guides for getting projects started.

Neighbourhood Plans

Since the Localism Act 2017, Government has been supporting communities in having more say in what gets built locally, for example with the introduction of Neighbourhood Plans. These measures can be used by communities who want to see the choice and diversification that self build can offer, and this guide supports anyone looking to increasing self building locally.

Designed specifically for community and neighbourhood planning groups, the guide is designed to help residents, parish and town councils and community land trusts comprehend how communities can go about custom and self build housing and the role that the Neighbourhood Plan can play in bringing them forward.

The guide includes sections on benefits and risks associated with the route, case studies and routes that communities can pursue, such as Neighbourhood Plans, Neighbourhood Development Orders, Community Right to Build Orders and more. It also shares an example of a Neighbourhood Plan from Petersfield that sets out examples for how the concept can work in actuality.

Custom build guide

Teignbridge District Council, a pioneer in supporting self builders, has also produced a second guide to support local builders and landowners, such as farmers, can benefit by bringing forward their land for self build, as opposed to open market development. How the private sector can get involved in delivering more custom build homes in Teignbridge demonstrates the viability and profitability of the route to market.

Sue Craythorne, Kenton Neighbourhood Planning group said: “I found the communities guide straightforward to follow, and the common questions section was particularly helpful. The guide offers lots of tips and sources of support. There is some technical language – but having said that, anyone contemplating going down this route will have to deal with all that and more!”

Teignbridge District Council's guide launch
Lulu Greenhaigh-Jones, Carpenter Oak; Luke Copley-Wilkins Carpenter Oak; Neil Townsend, Landowner; Cllr Jeremy Christophers, Teignbridge District Council Leader; Alex Boulger, Carpenter Oak; Charles Acland, Teignbridge Self-Build Officer

Leader of Teignbridge District Council and Right to Build Task Force Deputy Ambassador, Councillor Jeremy Christophers said: “These Teignbridge handbooks were written by custom and self build experts from the Right to Build Task Force. They show how our communities can take control and provide the homes they need for local people with custom and self build.

“Both guides highlight a new way of delivering local and affordable homes. Local community groups, parish and town councils, landowners and building firms can now really get to grips with these new ways of helping people unlock their own front door in much-needed local homes.”

Originally an initiative of the National Custom and Self Build Association, the Right to Build Task Force works with a range of stakeholders, such local authorities and community-led groups, to support them to create more opportunities to make custom and self build happen locally.

Find out more or get support from the Right to Build Task Force at its website, the Right to Build Toolkit.

3,500 community led homes at risk if Government doesn’t act, says National CLT Network


The National Community Land Trust Network has reported that the 3,500 community led homes already in the Community Housing Fund application process could be in jeopardy if the scheme isn’t extended. It’s calling for people to support its campaign to persuade the treasury to lengthen its lifespan.

A Freedom of Information request to Homes England by the National CLT Network revealed that there are over 3,500 community led homes in the Community Housing Fund pipeline, waiting to have the funding applications reviewed.

While this represents excellent progress, as the Community Housing Fund has only been operational for nine months, the National CLT Network warns that closing the scheme in December 2019 (with the exception of London) could seriously jeopardise this growth.

It reports that most of the CLTs bringing forward these affordable homes will need access to capital funding that will extend well into 2020 and beyond, in order to complete the homes.

“The number might seem small in the scheme of things. But these are homes being developed to meet very particular needs of communities. They matter, and the people behind them will be devastated if the Government pulls the rug from under them,” commented the National CLT Network.

“Groups building standard types of affordable housing, like affordable rent and shared ownership, will still be able to bid for the mainstream affordable homes funding. But innovative approaches won’t qualify, and new groups will lose access to unique revenue funding to develop their plans.”

The current Community Housing Fund has a £163 million funding that was set up to increase the supply of homes in England brought about by innovative community methods, especially those that provide affordable homes pegged at local income levels.

The National CLT Network worked with the Government to design the current programme, stressing the contribution that the community led housing movement could make to housing supply.

Intended to be a five-year fund, delays in the launch means that this aspect of the fund will only be open to bids for 18 months. This is not sufficient time for CLTs, which are mostly powered by volunteers, to get the necessary tasks done prior to being able to build.

The Greater London Authority recently announced London’s £38 million Community Housing Fund, which operates separately from Homes England. The London scheme stays open until 2023.

The National CLT Network is keen for CLT members to engage their MPs, and has some tips for how you can do this on its website.