Adopting a ‘top-down meets bottom up’ approach to develop co-operative housing in Wales – Carmarthenshire County Council

Posted on 10th November, 2017

Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC) decided to take part in the Welsh Government initiative to test how a co-operative housing scheme could provide homes for local people. The Old Oak Housing Co-operative was initiated by CCC as a pilot scheme. The Council received advice from the Welsh Co-operative Centre and capital subsidy from the Welsh Government.

CCC chose Gwalia Housing Association (now part of Pobl Group) to build the homes. The land was sold to Gwalia on favourable terms, which allowed the scheme to go ahead. The council promoted the concept of co-op housing locally, and sent a mailshot to families on its Housing Choice Register to identify potential co-operators. Gwalia worked with the Confederation of Co-operative Housing through the Wales Co-operative Centre support programme to develop the co-op and train members to take on the management of 27 intermediate rent homes.

CCC sees co-op housing schemes as making an important contribution towards its strategic aim of providing a range of affordable housing options. Its five year delivery plan for affordable homes gives the Council the opportunity to adopt a co-op approach where appropriate. To make co-op housing mainstream, CCC considers that authorities will need to learn from the pilot schemes and focus on two or three alternatives which work.  This will make future schemes easier to fund.  The Welsh Government funding was essential to make the scheme viable.

Full Case Study: Carmarthenshire_CLH