Community-led housing in the Harrogate area

Find out about community-led housing, how it works and the funding available.

Community-led housing allows people to get together to build housing that local communities want and need.

Community led housing:

  • is designed and managed by local people and built to meet the needs of the community, not for private profit
  • comes in many forms; most often a community land trust to develop and manage homes. Community trusts may already exist, running other community assets such as village shops and pubs. If not, funding and/or legal expertise is available to help form a group
  • can keep schools and local facilities open and help keep existing communities together by providing affordable homes to rent or buy that the community needs

The community housing fund

The community housing fund:

  • is a national allocation of £60m per year for five years for community-led housing
  • has allocated an initial £585,832 to the Harrogate area
  • is a bottom-up approach - communities decide where and what they want

How it works

Anybody can get together to deliver community led housing - the PTA, the parish council or simply like-minded people who want to help their community.

A community group can develop the site itself or choose to work with a housing association. It will keep control of the homes, initially choosing their tenure, size, scale and then future allocation policies for the homes.

A community group would get an income from the homes.

What the initial £585,832 funding is for

The initial funding can be used:

  • as a start-up fund to help communities establish themselves as trusts
  • for feasibility studies, promotion, housing needs studies and so on
  • for legal advice, professional fees
  • for land acquisition, development costs
  • for anything else that a community needs to deliver a scheme

Grant guidance

Basic principles

Allocations from the fund must be towards a scheme that fulfils the following basic principles:

  • the community must be integrally involved throughout the process in key decisions 
  • the group must be able to demonstrate community support for the proposals
  • there will be a presumption in funding schemes were the community takes a long- term formal role in ownership, management or stewardship of the homes.
  • the scheme’s benefits to the local area and/or specified community must be clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity

What can be funded

There are a number of ways in which the community housing fund can be used by community groups to deliver affordable housing. Options may include, but are not limited to: 

  • abnormal costs, such as contamination or site clearance
  • architect/architectural technician/cad technician
  • build costs
  • community capacity building
  • IMS operative for processing homes and community grant claims, including for audit purposes
  • infrastructure
  • insurance
  • legal expertise, such as governance arrangements/conveyancing 
  • marketing /estate agent fees
  • needs surveys
  • planning fees
  • publicity
  • site acquisition
  • site assembly
  • site identification
  • training requirements
  • valuation surveyor
  • feasibility and viability work

Where available, support/expertise should be sought from the central resource  - the hub - in the first instance for things such as capacity building and development expertise.

What cannot be funded

The fund cannot be used for:

  • any group or scheme which does not meet the basic principles 
  • funding for a development that has already started or retrospective costs expect for exceptional circumstances

Process for applications

Most of the information required to assess an application will be obtained by completing the application form and attaching the supporting materials.

We will then undertake a feasibility study with the community group to assess the potential for a community-led housing scheme. This will include an assessment of the likely availability of land and, where available, its suitability for housing. Determination of development funding for schemes will be subject to a more detailed appraisal process, which will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • deliverability
  • value for money
  • eligibility
  • allocations policy
  • how the scheme will be managed and maintained
  • robustness of the business model and financial viability
  • other sources of funding and finance
  • equality issues
  • best value and procurement issues

The application will then be assessed. 

Following this, a grant agreement will be entered into detailing monitoring arrangements and outcomes.

A report will be made with a recommendation to approve or refuse.

The grant will then be approved or refused.

Payment of grant and terms and conditions

Payments for marketing and promotion of community housing fund by the council or community, the costs of setting up community groups and feasibility, such as pre-application work, will normally be paid on receipt of a grant claim form and invoices for work carried out. However, it is recognised that some community groups may not yet be fully constituted or have very limited cash resources. As a result, the funding will be held by us and spent on set-up costs until such time that the organisation is constituted and/or has appropriate cash reserves. At least 10% of these costs should normally be accessed from an alternative source to the community housing fund.

In respect of capital grant/loan payments for a scheme, unless otherwise agreed:

  • 50% to be paid on start on site of the scheme
  • 50% to be paid on scheme completion

It is expected that grant/loan funding will not exceed 50% of the total scheme cost, unless otherwise agreed.

Where the grant funding is being used to support a one-off specific cost such as site acquisition, site clearance or providing gap funding, then payment will normally be made to the applicant once that cost has been met by the applicant and upon receipt of evidence of payment of the cost by the applicant. For community groups that have limited cash resources payment could be made direct on production of an invoice.

Funding of cost overruns will only be considered in exceptional circumstances where costs are deemed unavoidable and unforeseeable and where all other sources of potential funding will have been exhausted. There can be no guarantee that the community housing fund will fund cost overruns. If it does, it will normally only be as a contribution and will not exceed 50% of the total scheme costs.

Wherever possible we make payments by BACS transfer.

Grant agreement

Grant recipients will be required to enter into a grant agreement with us to ensure that the community housing fund is spent in accordance with the approved bid which will stipulate a number of requirements including:

  • monitoring arrangements - we will require grant recipients to provide regular monitoring information as per the grant agreement
  • use of grant and details of works required - the grant agreement will set clear what the grant can be used for and details of the works required
  • withholding, suspending and repayment of grant - the grant agreement will also set out the circumstances in which grant may be withheld, suspended or repaid - this will include disposal of the properties within a certain timescale, use of grant for purposes other for which the grant has been awarded and so on

Data protection

All personal information supplied on the application form will be processed by us in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not sell or disclose your personal information to other organisations or individuals without your consent. You must complete the Data Protection section on the application form.

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives members of the public the right to request any information that we hold. This includes information received from third parties including grant applications and grant holders. If information is requested under the Freedom of Information Act, we will release it, subject to exemptions. If you think that the information you are providing may be exempt from release you should let us know when you apply.

Read the grant agreement and cover sheet here.

Contact us for the following forms:

  • development funding application form
  • kick start funding application form

Keep informed 

If you want to be kept informed about community-led housing, contact us to sign up for our e-bulletin. 

If you are interested or need further information, contact us.