York could get its first co-operatively owned ‘permanently affordable’ housing through a new community housing scheme.
YorSpace, a community benefit society and community land trust, is raising funds through a community share offer to create 19 homes at Lowfield Green in the York suburb of Acomb.
The land will then be leased to residents via a specially created Mutual Home Ownership Society (MHOS), which will generate income to repay the shares.
Director of YorSpace Imelda Havers said: ‘There are many exciting features to this project. But raising money in the community for local housing really is a bit radical.
‘By investing in YorSpace, local people and businesses will have a stake in future housing provision and can shape the type of homes that the city really needs.’
The development, which will be open to people with ‘strong connections’ to the area and in housing need, aims to tackle York’s housing crisis, with many younger families locked out of traditional homeownership.
Residents will have a stake in the whole development as equal shareholders in the co-operative that will own the houses, paying a monthly contribution with any equity only rising with inflation.
Deposits will also be significantly lower at 10% with the value of the homes approximately 80% of an equivalent home.
YorSpace says that the houses will be affordable in perpetuity, as they won’t be made available on the open market for profit.
The 19 homes will involve a mix of housing from one-bed apartments to four-bed houses to create a community that’s diverse in age and family size.
Residents will commit to nurturing an active community and will also share communal spaces such as dining and kitchen areas, a laundry room and even cars to promote social cohesion.
The homes themselves at Lowland Green will be built from low carbon, bio-based construction materials, lowering their carbon footprint and making them more energy-efficient to run.
James Newton, fellow director of YorSpace, said: ‘We believe our community funded, permanently affordable homes using low carbon building materials is a model for the future, and we’re keen to speak to people across the city who would like to find out more.’
YorSpace is looking to raise a minimum of £375,000 from the share offer with members of the public able to make investments from £250 to £47,500.
Once Lowfield Green is successfully delivered, YorSpace will look to help facilitate more community-led housing in York.
Photo Credit – YorSpace