Housing co-operatives are common in many parts of the world. In Berlin around 15% of all new homes being built in the city are being developed by housing co-operatives for their members. However, despite their popularity in other countries, they have been relatively uncommon in the UK.
But things are changing. In May 2019, government research revealed that there are plans for over 16,600 community-led homes to be developed, this is triple the estimate from two years ago. Long established housing cooperative are growing - building new homes and welcoming new members. And new cooperatives are setting up, as people look to find their own solutions to beat the affordable housing crisis.
In Merseyside, there are more than 30 housing cooperatives that are managed, either entirely, or mainly, by their tenants. They typically fall into two categories: non-ownership and ownership. In an ownership co-operative, members buy into the co-operative and own a share of the building they live in. In non-equity co-operatives, people become members by taking a tenancy with the co-operative. In this type of cooperative the members have control over their own housing, without owning it personally.
Lodge Lane East Co-operative Housing has been running in Liverpool for more than 40 years. They own 210 homes. Keen to provide more affordable homes for people in need, the cooperative set about to secure a piece of land to develop near to their existing homes on which to build new affordable homes for their members.
To develop their plans, the co-operative worked closely with its managing agent, North West Housing Services, an organisation which represents over 30 housing co-operatives across the North West. They helped the cooperative realise its aspirations by working in partnership with Irwell Valley Homes, due to us being delivery partners for Homes England and hosts of the Greater Manchester Community Led Housing Hub.
Phil Earl, Chief Executive of North West Housing Services explains: “Lodge Lane East Co-operative Housing is one of our founding members and one of the largest community-led housing providers in Liverpool. We were delighted when the co-operative decided to undertake this development and we were very happy to help them acquire the land, work up their plans and appoint a team of consultants to assist.”
Acting as the development agent, we helped the cooperative to transform waste land off the Lodge Lane, into a fantastic housing scheme which offers three two-bed apartments, one of which is fully wheelchair accessible.
Sasha Deepwell, Chief Executive of Irwell Valley Homes, said: “We have a long history of supporting housing cooperatives and we're delighted to be working with North West Housing Services and other community-led housing groups across the North West to develop new homes for established co-operatives and their members, and well as supporting the setup of new co-operatives looking to build.
She went on to say: “With a severe lack of affordable homes for people in need, community led housing offers a real opportunity for people to come together to benefit from supportive, affordable and secure homes.”
The new homes, which are the first homes the co-op have developed themselves, are now being enjoyed by their members who are all absolutely thrilled their new homes.
Martyn Williams, Chair of Lodge Lane East Co-operative Housing said: “We are committed to providing a high standard of affordable housing to the local community and hope to provide more homes in the future.”
The development was built by Frank Rogers Building Contractor Limited and cost in the region of £520,000, of which £144,000 was grant funded from Homes England, the governments homes agency.
For more information about community-led housing visit www.communityledhomes.org.uk