A guide to better planning for communities in England

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A planner’s guide to help local authorities support more community-led housing development has been launched by Community First Yorkshire

The planners guide draws on examples and experience from both urban and rural Local Planning Authorities to show how Local Plan policy and development management practice can support community-led housing delivery, as well as how it can be promoted through Neighbourhood Plans.

It has been written in partnership with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and has also been endorsed by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), National Community Land Trust Network (NCLTN) and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). Development of the guide has been funded by Nationwide Foundation.

The number of community-led housing groups forming has risen sharply in the past five years. There are currently 87,000 people involved in community-led housing groups producing a potential pipeline of 15,000 homes. A £163m Community Housing Fund was opened by Government in July 2018.

Community-led housing (CLH) are homes that are built, controlled and owned by the community and includes community land trusts, cohousing and housing co-operatives.

Leah Swain, chief executive of Community First Yorkshire, who commissioned the Guide, said, “It was apparent from work in North Yorkshire and other areas that there was a gap between the ambition to provide community-led housing and knowledge amongst planners. This Guide fills that gap.

“It is written to be relevant to planners working in both rural and urban areas, but will also be helpful to other professionals, particularly those coming to CLH from a housing or Neighbourhood Planning perspective.”

Samantha Jones, head of CLH programme, said: “With budgets stretched, local governments are looking for innovative ways to solve local housing problems and help neighbourhoods thrive community-led housing is one of these ways.

“A third of councils of all political colours have used either policy, grants or land disposals to help community projects to succeed. With the help of this guide, we hope to see even more councils working CLH into their strategies.”

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