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Council makes funding available for community-led housing schemes

A Bridlington Informer News Item from Bridlington.net - Visit Bridlington Informer

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East Riding of Yorkshire Council has allocated £2 million of Government funding towards supporting community-led housing schemes.

Community housing puts the local community at centre stage in delivering the right housing to meet local needs. This can cover a wide range of initiatives, including Community Land Trusts, co-housing schemes and community self-build projects.
The funding will be made available to help community groups investigate the need for such housing and to draw up the necessary plans. Funding may also be available to contribute towards the cost of purchasing land and building houses at a later stage.

Councillor Symon Fraser, portfolio for strategic asset management, housing and environment, said: "This is a real opportunity for local communities to take control of house building in their area, ensuring that new development meets identified local needs now and in the future."

To support this, the council has produced a Community Housing Fund Policy, which was supported by the council's cabinet. The policy outlines how to go about bringing such a proposal forward and sets out the various conditions that would have to be satisfied to receive funding.

The policy will support community groups in three stages:

1. Community Development/Set-up Fund – Funding of up to £4,000 per community to help develop the group to a constituted stage and undertake some initial community consultation activity.
2. Feasibility Fund – Funding of between £5,000 and £40,000 per scheme to undertake a feasibility study and produce a project plan. In this plan, communities would have to identify their proposed site, how they will secure match funding, what they intend to build and which members of their community will benefit from the scheme. At this stage, the group would be expected to have secured pre-planning advice on the scheme and have a clear understanding of any risks.
3. Development Fund – Grant funding will be provided to cover up to 35% of the total development cost of the scheme. A further loan of up to 15% will also be available on the provision that the community's project plan has demonstrated they have exhausted all other funding options.

The council is keen to hear from town and parish councils, community groups and from individuals who may be interested in bringing forward such housing schemes.

A copy of the recently approved Community Housing Fund Policy is available to view by visiting www.eastriding.gov.uk/environment/planning-and-building-control/new-housing-and-self-build-homes/

To find out more, contact Matt Lewer, principal housing policy and development officer, at matt.lewer@eastriding.gov.uk or by calling (01482) 396113.