As a think tank, we will provide independent and strategic thought leadership; frameworks and high quality content in addressing today’s societal, industrial and economical challenges associated with Housing and Communities.
Housing and Communities Leadership Board
In June, we will be announcing our priority research areas for the forthcoming years, as well as introducing our Board Members who will help shape and drive our work.
The Government wants to create ‘great places to live and work’. How much of the West Midlands can we define as being great places to live and work and what damage has COVID-19 left in its wake? What is holding back our region’s communities achieving their full potential? What is preventing housing developers from creating the outstanding developments, in terms of quantity and quality, that the region needs to prosper? 215,000 new homes by 2030-31 is a huge target for the region to deliver, but substantial progress has been made. What else can be done to make sure the target is reached – can we/should we be aiming for more as a region?
A key part of our work is to produce webinars, providing people from all across the region (and beyond) to provide their insight and expertise to how we can address and tackle some of society’s biggest challenges. We look forward to announcing further webinars in due course, but here are two we held in 2020; ‘What role can Community Led Housing play in the West Midlands Housing Mix’ and ‘Has the time come for a dedicated Housing Court?’
Community Led Housing
A dedicated Housing Court
Covid-19 has sent shockwaves through virtually every part of our lives and almost every aspect of the economy. The impact of the pandemic is going to be profound on our communities but it does provide us with the opportunity to take stock and re-evaluate how we can do things better across our region.
Community Led Housing (CLH) is a growing movement across the UK, in which people are taking action and managing housing projects to build the affordable homes that the country urgently needs. 87,000 people are members of CLH groups; there’s been a 2121% increase in Community Land Trusts in a decade (from 14 to 311) and 6,000 community led homes are in the pipeline (CommunityLedHomes.org.uk).
On 10th September, we hosted a webinar to explore the case for CLH and the role it could play in enhancing the housing mix across the West Midlands. The webinar also considered what CLH means in practice; how it can be advanced as a serious proposition to enhance communities across the region as well as looking at a live example of an organisation which went from theory to practice.
In October 2017, the then Secretary of State for Housing committed to consult with the judiciary on whether a new, specialist Housing Court could make it easier for all users of court and tribunal services to resolve disputes, reduce delays and to secure justice in housing cases.
In November 2018, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government released its ‘Call for Evidence’ to seek the views of all users of the courts and the property tribunals, such as individual owners towards the notion of a dedicated Housing Court. In October 2020, we are still awaiting the outcome of this public consultation.
In July 2020, Glenn Harris MBE (CEO, Midland Heart) wrote an article for the Centre for the New Midlands in which he argued that “the Government made the right call in pausing evictions during lockdown, and in setting out measures to protect tenants with a pre-action protocol once the ban is lifted. But to fully protect tenants in the longer term, we need to take a closer look at the justice system itself”.
What could a well resourced dedicated Housing Court mean for the West Midlands region? Could the Midlands could host a pilot project of the scheme?