Cooperative Housing: advancing the approach
Community-led by its very nature – co-operative housing has quickly become a crucial cog in increasing the supply of affordable homes. Dave Palmer previews his session at TAI 2017 where you can learn more about the nuts and bolts of delivering the model in practice.
Positivity, passion and pride. Those were the overarching feelings that I got from all parties involved at the Co-operative Housing focus group I attended recently. The focus group, held at Chapter in Cardiff, was run by Keith Edwards as part of his research into co-operative housing in Wales. The meeting was attended by tenants from Old Oak, Carmarthen and Home Farm Village, Cardiff; representatives from Pobl, Cadwyn, Newydd and Merthyr Valleys Homes housing associations and Lovell contractors. Keith presented his findings and gave everybody the opportunity to speak openly about their experiences.
The tenants in attendance were extremely pleased with the quality of their new homes and were delighted ‘to be treated like equals’ throughout the process. The developers appreciated the opportunities to explain their processes and were keen to take on similar projects in the future, and the project officers from housing associations were proud of the successful partnerships created and were passionate about further developing the co-op housing movement.
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of stories of frustration as well; building delays, tenant demands and local authority roadblocks all played their part in the initial stages. But after a steep learning curve, consistent channels of open communication emerged and expectations were more realistically managed. As the projects progressed, strong relationships formed and led to the co-operation that resulted in a positive outcome for everyone.
There was a sense that, in the beginning, nobody fully comprehended quite how different the demands of a co-op housing project would be. And this is to be expected, after all, co-operative housing is still a relatively new beast in the housing arena. Which is why it is important to talk about the lessons learned from each completed project, so that the process can be streamlined in future and become a viable option in the mainstream development of affordable homes.
Join Dave Palmer, Wales Co-operative Centre Co-operative Housing Project Manager, for his session with Bron Lloyd, Pobl at the TAI conference as he talks about using the lessons learnt from the co-operative housing pilot projects in Wales and how to apply them in practise.