Toggle menu

Community Led Housing

Located on the South Coast with the South Downs National Park on our doorstep and our close proximity to London makes the district a very desirable place to live. This results in a high demand for housing which in turn has pushed house prices beyond the means of local people, earning an average income.

We want to offer as many opportunities for people to access homes as possible and community led housing provides another choice.

What are the benefits?

Community led housing offers many benefits to the community:

  • Local ownership, control and accountability.
  • Delivery of affordable homes, in perpetuity.
  • Investment in the local community.
  • Locally agreed nomination agreements.

Introduction to Community Led Housing

Community Led Housing describes a range of different approaches. They are led by the community and aim to deliver affordable homes and other community assets for the benefit of that community. Such assets might include a community shop or pub for example.

There are many variations of community led housing. The main models are:

Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts (often refereed to as CLT's) are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes. They also manage other assets important to their local community.  This might be a local pub or shop that is at risk of closure, or providing local workspaces or community facilities. The CLT acts as the long term steward of these assets and in the case of housing, ensuring it remains affordable in perpetuity. 

CLTs are not a legal form in themselves (like a company) although they are defined in law so there are certain things a CLT must be and do.

It must be set up to benefit a defined community:

  • It must be not for private profit. This means they can, and should, make a surplus as a community business but any surplus must used to benefit that community.
  • Local people living and working in the community must have the opportunity to join the CLT as members.
  • Those members control the CLT. This is usually through a board elected form the membership.

If you're interested in finding out more the Community Land Trust Network (opens new window) has lots of useful information.

Community Land Trusts currently in Chichester District:


These are intentional communities created and run by the people who live in them.  Each household has their own private home as well as shared community space. The residents come together to manage their community, share activities and will often eat together. Cohousing is seen as a way of tackling social isolation and creating neighbourly support. The communities can be whatever you want them to be. They might be intergenerational but with a common purpose. For example, an Eco-Friendly emphasis, or they could be age specific or single sexed communities.

If you are interested in finding out more about cohousing please visit UK Cohousing Network (opens new window). They offer a free handbook for groups starting out.

Good examples of recent cohousing developments are:


Co-operatives are owned and managed by its members. All members have equal responsibility for its running. They make sure its rules are upheld, the properties are maintained, and the co-operative remains financially stable.

Its legal structure allows it to own property, take out mortgages and collect rent.  The land and buildings are all owned by the co-operative which in turn rents the accommodation to its members and residents in exchange for their time in helping to run the co-operative.

How we can help

We understand that it can be difficult to get started so alongside some practical advice and support we can also provide grant funding at different stages along the way. If you have any questions, please email

Early Support Grant (up to £2,000)

The early support grant is available for groups that are exploring the possibility of starting a CLH group.  It can be used to cover a variety of costs such as membership to national organisations, consultation, publicity, room hire etc. 

Business Development Grant (up to £10,000)

The business development grant is available to those who have already decided upon the type of community led housing they want to develop. They also have a steering group and are ready to take the next step in becoming formally incorporated. The development is a clear vision, land opportunities have been identified, and training and project plan have been developed.

Feasibility and Technical Consultancy Grant (up to £30,000)

Once you have identified a site and ownership has been secured through transfer, purchase or option agreement, you can apply for a grant to help towards costs. These costs could be architects fees, legal fees, business modelling, land surveys, planning fees or housing surveys.

Capital and Land Grant (up to £10,000 per unit)

We may be able to provide your project with help towards capital costs of up to £10,000 per unit. This might be help towards the cost of land or property purchase or the build costs. 

For further information on grants and how to apply for them, please contact