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New policy can help build better communities in Swansea

A new policy to help residents take more control of their community has been approved in Swansea.

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The Co-operative Housing Policy was approved at a meeting of Swansea Council's Cabinet recently.  It means that any future plans for affordable rented housing or low cost home ownership schemes could lead to tenants forming a co-operative and taking more of a role of the management of the sites.

Tenants within these groups can take on a wide range of responsibilities linked to their homes including future maintenance, landscaping and security.

The plans follow on from a commitment by the Welsh Government in 2016 to build 20,000 homes and has agreed a way to achieve this with Community Housing Cymru and the WLGA.

Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy in Swansea, said: "Cooperative housing is about communities having democratic control over decisions about their homes and their neighbourhood.

"It will give the residents control over their homes and how the homes are managed.

"The benefits are that it gives communities the opportunity to come together, making them stronger and achieving more for the benefit of their community.

"The new policy allows groups of people to set up their own cooperatives but also gives the council or a housing association the opportunity to recruit residents to form a group. It also highlights how the council can support these groups and housing associations where they are created."

The Welsh Government has pledged to provide some funding for the development of housing schemes where the intention is for it to be managed by a cooperative.

The Council has been working closely with Wales Co-operative Centre and the Confederation of Co-operative Housing to develop this policy, including visiting existing schemes in other Local Authorities and meeting with the residents to hear about their experience and the benefits of cooperative living.

Cllr Lewis added: "The demand for housing in Swansea remains high and so we are doing all we can to address this by continuing our intention to develop more housing for people in Swansea."

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