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Council helps to address community housing need

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INDIVIDUALS and groups are being offered expert help to address housing needs in their own communities.

Copeland Council has joined forces with ACTion With Communities in Cumbria for the Community-Led Housing Initiative, which is assisting people to identify, create and manage housing in their local areas.

The project’s specialist team is currently working with a community organisation, a village hall committee and a number of individuals on projects across the borough, and the scheme continues to be open for interested parties to access the free support on offer.

Community-led housing projects, whether within the National Park boundary or outside it, provide local occupancy housing in perpetuity and can be homes to rent or buy.

The options for community-led housing schemes are wide-ranging and can include community-owned housing, cooperative and tenant controlled housing, individual self-build or projects managed by providers on behalf of community groups. Benefits for those who become involved in the process can include start-up grants and funding towards feasibility studies, housing needs surveys, planning permission, in addition to capital for schemes themselves or assistance applying for further funding.

Mike Starkie, Mayor or Copeland, said: “We are working with a number of individuals and groups who are considering projects that could provide housing solutions for their communities.

“We know the process can be time-consuming, and even daunting, so we’re on hand with free expert one-to-one support and guidance. 

“We aren’t looking for developers or house-builders, and it needn’t necessarily be a fully-formed committee with an action plan who gets in touch; it could simply be an individual or a couple of individuals who have an idea in its early stages and want a chat with us to see if it’s feasible for their community.”

Copeland Council has attracted £193,768 funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government to co-deliver the project as an area where the high number of second-home ownership is affecting housing supply.

For more information, contact Amanda Starr on 01946 598427 or Amanda.starr@copeland.gov.uk.

Published: 30 January 2018 - 4:31pm