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A Community future for Housing

The All Members Meeting for March took place on Wednesday night at Cranleigh Sports and Social Club. The main speaker was David Cowan who leads Surrey Community Led Housing. His talk was a beginners guide to community led housing, including coops, self-build and co-housing developments.

While the absolute numbers of houses built in these ways is small, it is growing rapidly, and in other parts of Europe make a major contribution to the housing stock.

There are several advantages to this sort of housing development.

Firstly, being community led, it avoids the issue of housing developments being (or appearing to be) foisted on the local community, and all the benefits flooding out of that community. An absolute principle for these developments is that the local community have the say of where, how big and what type of housing is built.

But as this is not ‘social housing’ there is no ‘right to buy’ involved. The community can decide on its own allocation policy and can (for instance) ensure the housing remains within that community for all time, or that the property can only be sold for X% of the current market rate or must be rented at X% of the local median pay…. There is no standard model for community led housing, which is the point!

There was a lengthy Q&A following the talk and several members expressed an interest in learning more about these schemes. All in all an interesting evening out in Waverley…

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