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Pioneering Leeds co-op completes first building

Published date : 12 November 2012

the partners celebrate the milestoneThe LILAC self-build co-operative in Leeds is celebrating a major milestone with the structural completion of their first home at the site of a former school in Bramley. LILAC, which stands for the Low Impact Living, Affordable Community is a co-operative which allows members to create a shared way of living which also saves the residents money. LILAC is the first Mutual Home Ownership Society in England.

The LILAC scheme was made possible through a grant of £45,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to enable such a completely new and revolutionary project to obtain planning permission. The HCA also provided Leeds City Council with £460,000 to help decontaminate and clear the derelict the site and make it suitable for new homes.

David Curtis, Executive Director at the HCA said:

“It is fascinating to see what has been achieved here in such a short space of time.  The members of LILAC are to be congratulated on turning their dream into a reality. Whilst large scale developments tend to make the headlines, schemes such as this and Custombuild sites will help people live in the homes they want at a price they can afford.”

Paul Chatterton, a member of the LILAC co-operative said

“With the HCA’s support we have been able to build the UK’s first genuinely affordable, low impact cohousing community. This is a landmark moment for showing the way for a new generation of communities wanting to build their own neighbourhoods”.

The construction of the homes is also a living laboratory, since the houses are made using the unique Modell process which allows for the walls to be constructed from straw bales which provide a fully recyclable, highly insulating local building material that the members of the co-op were able to help build in a specially created ‘flying factory’. This innovative approach was made possible with funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The scheme at LILAC, whilst delivering relatively few new houses is one of the many different ways that the HCA is working with local communities in Leeds to provide homes where people want that they can afford.

» Read more about Community Led Development

Photo caption: Paul Chattertion and David Curtis (at left) with members of the Co-op celebrate the completion

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