Communities need more power over local housing to get homes built

With funding from the Nationwide Foundation, Demos (a cross-party think tank) has launched a report exploring the theory that giving communities more power over local housing development can help to get more homes built. This work included investigating the barriers facing community-led housing models and how effectively these barriers are being overcome.

Headline findings from this work, entitled Community Builders, were that:

  • Widespread local opposition to house building (‘NIMBYism’) is not inevitable. Rather than being motivated by selfish, financial concerns, most opposition is born out of genuine concern for the community and a lack of transparency and trust in the planning process
  • Councils in the North of England are much more likely to approve new housing development, and in a much faster time, than those in the South – where the shortage of supply is most acute
  • Community-led housing schemes could help to solve the national housing crisis, by encouraging greater local ownership over house-building

Demos has called on the government to support local authorities to do more to tackle the UK’s housing crisis, by encouraging community-led developments and pushing for greater transparency in decision-making.

Rather than arguing for Whitehall to step in to drive projects forward, the report argues that it is only through empowering communities to be more involved in housing projects that sufficient homes will be built – with the support of local residents.

This work was funded under the Nationwide Foundation’s outcome that alternative models of housing can provide more affordable homes.

The full report can be found here.