RESIDENTS who want new affordable homes in Dursley are being encouraged to form a trust to make the houses a reality.

Struggling with a shortage of affordable housing, Stroud District Council wants people to unite for a 'community-led' housing scheme in the town.

This would see residents form a community land trust to buy a site, often for a nominal fee such as £1, and then partner with a housing co-operative and builders to create the homes.

One such site earmarked by the council is opposite the library in May Lane, where one of the buildings (5 and 5a) is derelict and the adjacent land, which is overgrown, stretches back behind Parsonage Street.

District council leader Doina Cornell, who represents Dursley, is driving the idea forward.

“There is nothing currently of this kind in Dursley, but if a group or people were interested, we could support them to make it happen,” she told the Gazette.

“One of the ways of doing it would be via a community land trust, which would own the land, partnered with a housing co-op to manage the site.

“It would need people in the community that are dedicated and want to make it happen.

“If people are interested, plenty of advice on how to do it is available. You don’t need to be an expert.”

Although this type of development is unlikely to yield large amounts of housing, Cllr Cornell said one of its advantages is using tiny parcels of land that would be overlooked by larger developers.

“What’s good about it is that it allows us to identify small sites that otherwise might not get developed,” she said.

“And being such a rural area, not everyone is keen on having huge developments close by. Whereas with smaller sites, people don’t tend to mind those.”

She added: “The key thing about community led housing is it’s about local people doing it for themselves.”

If you're interested in community-led housing in Dursley, contact Stroud District Council.