Garden communities toolkit


Information about creating long-term maintenance and management arrangements for your garden community.

Integrating long-term stewardship

This makes sure a garden community’s assets are maintained and managed for the future benefit of the community.

At an early stage in the planning process, you should consider the following:

  • decide who you need to involve in shaping a stewardship model
  • list what assets will require stewardship, this includes community facilities, public realm, infrastructure, energy generating assets and business units
  • explore how existing local communities and future residents can be incorporated into long-term stewardship
  • explore the funding and financing is needed to ensure it’s sustainable
  • scope which models of stewardship are appropriate

Stewardship models and approaches

The different approaches to stewardship include:

  • charitable trust - a legal entity that holds assets for a garden community and reinvests any income into beneficiaries 
  • community interest company - a type of limited company designed to provide benefits to the community, reinvesting any profits into the garden community and ensuring that any assets are retained long-term 
  • co-operative society - a non-profit organisation run for the mutual benefit of members, that reinvests residual income into the garden community to provide services and facilities
  • community benefit society (industrial and provident society) - similar to a co-operative society, but for the benefit of the community at large rather than members, which can have charitable status
  • management company (resident owned) - a legal entity which protects the interests of residents of a garden community, managing the common assets of a settlement, funded by monies collected typically by a service charge

The TCPA’s Guide 9: Long-term stewardship gives detailed guidance on the principles of long-term stewardship, and different approaches that can be taken to create successful new communities.

Stewardship checklist

Issues to consider when thinking about your approach to stewardship:

  • define the assets a stewardship body needs to look after (typology, extent, number)
  • consider if the stewardship body also has a community development role
  • if the stewardship body should be governed by the community it covers
  • research suitable legal options to provide appropriate protection for a stewardship body
  • prepare initial estimates of the costs of managing and maintaining the assets in the long term to inform a business plan
  • research sources of funding for the stewardship body
  • consider how the assets will be held by the stewardship body
  • consult with relevant stakeholders on potential models for the stewardship body

Download a checklist to use when exploring stewardship of a garden community

Local governance for garden communities

To make sure decisions are made in the interest of the garden community, establish a system of ongoing local governance with input from the local community. 

Different approaches to governance might include:

  • utilising an existing or establishing a new parish council or neighbourhood forum to act as a custodian or management trustee, perhaps in an interim arrangement
  • incorporating local people into the structure of the stewardship model selected to manage the garden town assets.

Further information