People power raises £360,000 for low-cost Leeds housing

SUCCESS: From left: Kevin Gillespie and Ryan Geldard from CITU, Steve Hoey and Gill Coupland of Leeds Community Homes.
SUCCESS: From left: Kevin Gillespie and Ryan Geldard from CITU, Steve Hoey and Gill Coupland of Leeds Community Homes.
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Housing campaigners are celebrating a city first after hundreds of supporters pledged over £360,000 to buy affordable housing for those in need in Leeds.

Bosses at Leeds Community Housing (LCH) have branded the swell of support a “miracle” after they managed to hit their cash target in just over a year, to buy 16 city flats for low-cost rent.

Over 200 people backed the not-for-profit enterprise’s bid to buy the apartments from Leeds-based eco-friendly developer CITU in the city centre’s newly-formed Climate Innovation District on the south bank of the River Aire. The community share scheme - believed to be a first for affordable housing in Leeds - offered investors a two per cent return by 2020 on a minimum stake of £100.

Gill Coupland, co-director of LCH, said people pledged cash from Leeds and all over the country, with some five-figure individual donations.

“It’s incredible for Leeds that people have put this money into creating great affordable housing. We’re hugely grateful.

“We’ve done this in a year. We’ve done it and people have believed in us. To get to this point, to be actually ready to purchase our first 16 flats is like a miracle. Nothing like this has ever happened before. I just think it’s absolutely incredible.”

The flats, due to be completed in two phases in January 2018 and January 2019, are on offer to LCH at a 60 per cent discount through a developer-funded Section 106 planning agreement.

It is expected that the first tenants could be moving in by April 2018.

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