Cheshire Community Action (CCA) has launched a new housing initiative, which has been hailed as playing a vital role in helping communities recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

The community-led housing hub, Cheshire Community Homes (CCH), is the local branch of a fast growing national movement in community-led housing, which aims to help community groups come together to build new or, renovate existing housing across Cheshire and Warrington.

John Heselwood, community housing development manager at CCA, who is developing the Cheshire Community Homes hub, explains: “Community-led housing is all about developing genuinely affordable housing that meets the needs of communities, rather than for the profit of private developers. Cheshire and Warrington has had a lot of housing development in recent years but in so many communities I speak to it hasn’t met their needs. Too often I hear about the wrong type of housing, in the wrong location at an unaffordable price.

“Community-led housing provides an opportunity for communities to take back control of what gets built in their local areas, and to disrupt a dysfunctional housing market. It can help revive local economies by supporting local supply chains and reinvesting income generated from assets back into the community to create shared spaces and facilities.

“We want to hear from individuals, community groups, parish councils, landowners and housing development professionals who are motivated to get involved with this exciting movement to develop homes that will enrich communities, making them cleaner, greener, healthier, safer and more resilient for the future.”

“When communities can decide the location, design, rent levels and who is eligible to live in the homes, this leads to the creation of housing that local people consent to and can be proud of. It helps strengthen communities, with residents who feel invested in these homes and the surrounding area, and neighbours who look out for one another.

“We’ve all had to face up to our own housing circumstances through the lockdowns, and community groups have been at the frontline of the emergency response to this pandemic dealing with the overwhelming demands for support in health, care, and economic uncertainty.

“But with nearly 90,000 people already actively involved in the community-led housing movement across the UK, and more than 23,000 community-led homes in the pipeline to be built, community-led housing can and should be part of the longer term economic recovery.

“Community-led housing delivers high quality homes that are energy efficient, prioritised for local people and available at a price or rent level that people can afford. The sector has grown more than tenfold since 2010 and at Cheshire Community Homes we believe there is now huge potential for it to grow in Cheshire and Warrington.”