LILAC is a pioneering co-housing project based in Leeds.
It aims to build a member-led housing neighbourhood which will have a low impact on the environment, will be built to the highest ecological standards, will be affordable, maximise social interaction between its residents, and make a positive contribution to its surrounding community.
LILAC aims to build a community of 20 homes (6 x 1 bed, 6 x 2 bed, 5 x 3 bed and 3 x 4 bed) in the inner-city on a site of around one acre. This land will be managed through a trust or covenant to the project in perpetuity.
LILAC is a company registered with the FSA. It is a democratically run co-operative company (Industrial and Provident Society) which will build and manage the project.
There is an urgent need for LILAC for a number of reasons. It is a response to the huge shortage of affordable housing for the intermediate market, to the urgent need for new homes to be more environmentally sustainable, to protect our resources in the face of climate change and energy scarcities, and to build a beautiful, safe neighbourhood where people come first and have direct power over how their neighbourhood is run.
We aim to work closely with local authority and other partners to meet Leeds’ strategic aims and core ambitions as outlined in its Sustainable Community Strategy, Local Area Agreement and Local Development Framework.
We have already established a demand for this project through our solid and growing membership base.
LILAC will include a ‘co-house’ which will include features for residents such as laundry, shared kitchen and meeting space, and will offer facilities for the local community such food co-operative, meeting space, training and advice.
LILAC will act as a demonstration project for ecological housing and will include open days and demonstration visits. Our ambition is that this project can act as a catalyst for further projects in Leeds and other cities.
The project will be based on super-insulated design using straw bale construction methods and will draw on self build courses run by a professional training provider for members of the local community and beyond.
It will meet the AECB Silver Standard with potential to meet its Passivhaus standard, which compares favourably to the Code for Sustainable Homes 5.
We estimate a total cost of the project of £2,141,987 and a build cost per square metre of £701 using the load bearing strawbale method with an element of self build.
In view of the pioneering nature of LILAC and the additional benefits it will bring, we hope to acquire land below market value. Where this is not possible, we would pursue a phased purchase on open market prices.
The project will use an innovative Mutual Home Ownership model where residents are leaseholders which ensures that the project is owned in perpetuity by its members and that it is permanently affordable.
Under this model, residents will pay 35% of their income to the project towards their allocation of equity shares. The gross household income necessary to make the repayments on equity shares to the value of the build costs affordable is £16,947 for a 1 bedroom property, £23,029 for a 2 bedroom property, £27,190 for a 3 bedroom property and £34,232 for a 4 bedroom property.
The cost of each home compares favourably with homes in an example area of inner west Leeds. Our estimated costs are £95,000 for a three bed house, while a three bed house on the open market in inner west Leeds is approximately £115,000.
We will be sourcing development loans from ethical and ecological commercial lenders, as well as funding the project through member deposits, grants and share issues.
We have the right team and skills in place to deliver this project and have adopted a risk management strategy to identify, manage and reduce risks.
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