Words by Steve Sharma / Pics supplied by Witton Lodge Community Association
Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) is celebrating a “significant achievement” after its portfolio of properties for rent surpassed 200.
In 2017, the Association set up a subsidiary, Witton Lodge Community Homes (WLCH), to develop its housing and community asset development aspirations.
Targeting empty properties to bring them back into use, WLCH works with Birmingham City Council and other stakeholders to explore opportunities for new build development which can also provide affordable housing solutions.
This new milestone underlines the commitment and progress Witton Lodge has made to realising its long-term goals.
WLCH Chief Officer, Afzal Hussain, said: “Our asset base of social, affordable and market rent homes has enabled the Association to invest in communities and transform neighbourhoods in Erdington and across North Birmingham.
“This is a significant achievement for us and the community led housing movement, as what really sets us apart from others is that our developments are shaped by local people and go with the grain of communities.”
Having achieved registered provider status with Homes England, WLCH can apply directly for funding to develop and manage properties.
The Association’s Homes and Assets Development Manager, Gareth Hopkins, said: “We have aspirations to do even more. When we purchase properties they often need a lot of investment, so we aim to retrofit and refurbish them to a really high standard.
“Given the cost of living crisis, this is obviously good for our tenants and good for the environment.”
Witton Lodge Community Association started life in 1994, established by local residents, in response to plans to demolish the Perry Common estate.
From then on, the community landlord has supported local residents through the demolition of the old estate and the rebuilding of the new – keeping the local community at the centre of the process and ensuring local people influence decisions.
In February 2021 there were over 17,000 applicants on Birmingham City Council’s housing waiting list, the local authority area within which WLCH deliver their services. In addition, there are more 9,000 empty properties in the city.
For more on Witton Lodge Community Association, visit www.wittonlodge.org.uk