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Community-led housing ideas to be discussed at public meeting

A concept of residents taking control over new housing developments in Maidenhead will be presented at an open meeting next week.

The event will promote community-led housing, which gives members of a community a stronger say in developments in their area.

It provides an alternative to developer or council-led housing.

The meeting has been organised by Maidenhead residents and social enterprise Ecomotive, which hopes to drum up interest in the idea.

Representatives from Earthy Tones, which aims to create an ‘eco-village’ in the town, will talk about their ideas and activities.

Sandra Orlando Payne, of Earthy Tones, said: “We believe that having a sense of  community, social belongingness, is a primary need for almost all human beings. It is as important as food and shelter.

“Sustainable, affordable, aesthetically pleas-ing housing is a need not a luxury. When half of the Royal Borough’s working population commutes to London, the towns, neighbourhoods and villages are not able to meet some of its primary, especially social and community, needs.”

Community-led hous-ing can take many forms, including ‘community land trusts’ – non-profit organisations which own land and property for the public’s benefit – and housing cooperatives, where residents share the ownership and management of their homes equally.

Sandra added: “Earthy Tones are a local group of residents that feel strongly about the latent need for people to connect, co-operate, and live alongside providing mutual support.

“We believe that residents can address and deliver their own housing needs.

“In an era of scarce resources and housing shortage working locally, sustainably in a co-

operative way can be far more effective than a centralised top down manner.”

A council spokesman said the Royal Borough had commissioned Ecomotive earlier this year to ‘explore the potential for community-led housing in the borough’.

It has been funded by a £103,375 grant the council received from central government’s Community Housing Fund.

Cllr Ross McWilliams, principal member for housing and communications, said: “Building genuinely affordable homes to buy and to rent for local people in the Royal Borough is vital for the council.

“I believe too many young adults, families and other first-time buyers are unable to get onto the housing ladder and this has to change.

“We are committed to building homes for everyone and I look forward to these upcoming events.”

The meeting will take place at the High Street Methodist Church on Tuesday from 7pm.

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