House prices will rise in the vicinity of the new shopping centres, White Rose and Trinity Leeds, which will in turn likely affect the affordability of housing across the city.
While finding that first step onto property ladder gets tougher as prices rise, new projects are launching that aim to assist struggling first time buyers. One of he most innovative of these is LILAC (Low Impact Living, Affordable Community) in Bramley, a suburb in west Leeds.
The housing cooperative, comprised of around two dozen members and several children, originated from a group of friends seeking an alternative to conventional house buying.
How LILAC meets the challenges of Conveyancing in Leeds
Alan Thornton, one of LILAC’s members, explains:
"The idea is that it responds to the three challenges, of climate change, the challenge of creating affordable housing for the future and the challenge of creating neighbourhoods where people have something to do with their neighbours"
Those Conveyancing in Leeds should take note of the initiative's impact. Houses in the cooperative are more affordable than equivalent properties bought through normal means. Each member contributes with 35% of their income to buy shares in the cooperative. The land is jointly owned by all members and decisions are taken by the residents.
When the plan was first brought into action three years ago, the group held open meetings to brainstorm and gauge general interest; many people attended. Once the ideas were narrowed down, the cooperative was set up around 2009.
Planning permission for 12 flats and eight houses was granted in May 2011, with councillors praising the £3million plan. The plans also include a common house, use of which is to be shared by all members.
Apart from being inexpensive, the houses will also be very ecologically sustainable. The innovative building system inserts straw into timber frames, forming excellently insulated wall panels. The straw and timber are very 'green' to produce, and will be procured exclusively from Yorkshire farmers, reducing the cost of building materials by 80 per cent.
LILAC promises to be a real alternative for home buyers in Leeds
Another factor emphasised by members of the cooperative is the sense of community and neighbourhood which the scheme will foster.
"For me the main pull of the co-housing project was the community side of things", said Kirsty Hughes, Alan’s partner and member of LILAC.
"Wanting my kids to have more than just a house. And you know that when they go out of the front door, it’s safe, firstly, and there are going to be people who they know really well, who know them really well, who will look out for them. "
The LILAC members aim to start building on the site in late 2011 and move in by mid to late 2012. They are still looking for some future residents, but spaces are filling up fast. There are currently two 3 to 4 bedroom houses still available.
LILAC has won a Social Enterprise Award and a £410, 000 grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). With its modern take on sustainability, affordability and community, LILAC might well turn out to be a pioneer project inspiring many more and setting a new standard for Conceyancing in Leeds.