New land and property oversight body needed in Liverpool City Region

Liverpool at night

The University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute has launched a new report calling for the establishment of a new entity in Liverpool City Region to help the development of community groups and generate jobs and growth.

The report entitled ‘Asset Ownership in Liverpool City Region’s Social Economy’ draws on multiple local case studies case studies including Homebaked Community Land Trust, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust and Baltic Creative CIC to make the case for community asset ownership.

The research found that lack of access to suitable land or property is restricting the development of many social organisations, while 70 per cent of socially trading organisations in the Liverpool City Region are looking for more space to enable them to grow.

If £32 million of additional assets were made available to Liverpool City Region’s smaller social organisations it could generate between £30 to £100 million of extra income and create up to 2,750 new jobs.

The reported recommended the establishment of a Liverpool City Region Asset Holding Company (LCR CAHoldCo) to take on and hold land and property on behalf of community groups and social organisations while they raise funds, secure planning permission, and identify development partners.

In an event at the Women’s Organisation in L1 hosted by the Heseltine Institute and Kindred Community Interest Company, an organisation which reinvests money, space and learning in Liverpool City Region’s socially-trading economy, a variety of organisations took part in roundtable discussions about the report.

They discussed how improving access to land and property for social organisations seeking space to grow across the city region can deliver significant social and economic impact.

Helen Heap, Visiting Fellow at the Heseltine Institute said: “Our research sets out a blueprint for successful community asset ownership which we hope can be used as a resource for the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, the Combined Authority, individual local authorities, and others interested in providing specific support to community led asset ownership initiatives.”

Erika Rushton, Programme Director at Kindred said: “Community led activities have the potential to make a much more significant contribution to the places in which they operate if they’re given the chance to do so. We know that 56p in every pound stays in the community if invested with community businesses as opposed to 40p for bigger organisations.

“In community hands assets can make a real difference, and we hope that this research paves the way for the dynamism of social business to be paired with available space across the city region. We look forward to continuing our work with the Heseltine Institute and the community to advance community asset ownership across the City Region.”

Cllr Mike Wharton, Liverpool City Region Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Business, said: “We know that land and property are the fundamental basis of wealth for communities and through success stories such as Baltic Creative we’ve already seen alternative, socially-conscious approaches to land management in the city region.

“This research constitutes a really useful contribution to the debate around how we support community-asset ownership and the Combined Authority will carefully consider its conclusions.”

You can read the report in full here.