House-building charity slams government for leaving fund hanging

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  • 12/09/2017
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House-building charity slams government for leaving fund hanging
A house building charity has accused the government of risking progress by refusing to confirm whether it will continue the Community Housing Fund.

The National Community Land Trust Network said the Housing Minister’s recent comments about the need to diversify Britain’s housing market have not been backed by real action.

Opening Britain’s first ‘plot shop’ for self-build housing, Alok Sharma (pictured) said: “We need to get creative with how we build our housing in this country, to deliver more of the right homes in the places people want to live.

“Through diversifying the housing market in this way, we can give people greater choice over the homes they live in – whether that’s buying on the open market or by commissioning and building their dream home.”

However, since the General Election the government has refused to confirm the future of the Community Housing Fund (CHF). Launched last year, the CHF is set to provide £300m over five years to scale-up community-led housing, delivering up to 13,000 new affordable homes.

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) typically partner or work as small and medium house builders.

Catherine Harrington, director of the National CLT Network, said CLTs can provide a much-needed new source of supply, enabling people to build their own homes and supporting SME builders.

“I welcome Alok Sharma’s reaffirmed commitment to diversifying housing market. The dominance of a handful of major developers is a key cause of Britain’s failure to build enough genuinely affordable homes across the country,” she said.

“But CLTs need more than warm words. Since the General Election, the Government has failed to make a firm commitment about the future of the £300m Community Housing Fund. Protecting the Community Housing Fund for the full five years would be the single most effective way of fulfilling Alok Sharma’s pledge to diversify the housing market.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government declined to comment on its plans for the fund.

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