St Paul's Community-Led Housing
Bringing much-needed community-led family housing to Balsall Heath
RIBA Work Stage
The Balsall Heath Community-led Housing Alliance recently formed to find innovative ways to meet the shortfall in housing in Balsall Heath and the surrounding area. We are collaborating with them to explore their first community-led housing model on two sites.
Balsall Heath has been the focus of extensive redevelopment and urban renewal activity. The Alliance is primarily made up of the three principal anchor organisations, Balsall Heath Forum, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and the Jericho Foundation, who have played a significant role in the urban renewal of the community; building community capital resilience and creating a sense of pride amongst the local people. They have a wealth of knowledge about their local community, which has been built up over the years, and are seen as vibrant community hubs.
We have been exploring strategic design options to bring family housing to two currently underused sites in Balsall Heath. The key aims are to meet the needs of the local community, contribute to the overall neighbourhood, and benefit existing residents through high quality and inclusive design. The income received from the properties, through sale and rent, would be used to provide long term financial support through a Community Development Trust. This would help to focus more activity on building community capacity and developing a volunteer network that works for the community.
The first phase of community-led housing will help to support, strengthen and sustain this existing community infrastructure. In partnership with Jericho, the proposals would provide employment opportunities through apprenticeships. This would provide training and employment in an area that has high unemployment and a low skills base. If successful, this model could be used to develop other sites in Balsall Heath and the surrounding area.