Eco-housing site for Leeds homes

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A PIONEERING eco-housing development where car-owning residents will share their vehicles with neighbours is to be built in Leeds.

Occupiers of the 12 flats and eight houses will live as a cooperative and sign up to an agreement that aims to promote environmental sustainability.

Built of timber and lime render, the homes will be insulated with straw and fitted with solar panels.

There will be allotments, a herb garden, pond and a play area.

Life will centre around the “Common House” which will have a shared launderette, food store, workshop, a dining room , kitchen and multi-function room for events. The aim is to pool resources to reduce the homes’ environmental impact and lower the cost of living.

The £3m project on the former Wyther Park Primary School site, Bramley, is being funded by members of the Low Impact Living Affordable Community (Lilac) cooperative with the help of a Homes and Communities Agency grant.

When homes become available they will not be offered on the open market. New residents will be selected by cooperative members and those leaving will get back most of the equity they paid in. It is a system designed to ensure the low-cost homes remain affordable to future residents.

The council’s west plans panel granted planning permission and work is expected to start this summer with residents moving in next year.

Lilac’s secretary Paul Chatterton, a Leeds University geography lecturer, weclomed the decision and said: “This is great recognition for a simple but a forgotten idea – that we can build houses that are affordable while also protecting our environment and building a strong sense of community – and right here in Leeds.

Lilac’s architect, Craig White, of White Design, said: “Lilac is a great model for groups who want to design and help build their own communities at a price that they can afford.

“We look forward to getting this off the ground as one of the first real community-led low carbon neighbourhoods in the UK.’

There has been huge interest in the development and membership officer Kirsty Hughes said: “We only have two flats and two houses available and a waiting pool for some of the flats. We are particularly looking for families with school aged children for the last few houses.”

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