Leeds cohousing scheme nears completion

The first part of a combined project to build 63 new affordable homes close to Leeds city centre is due to be completed later this year.
1 - Leopold St

The first part of a combined project to build 63 new affordable homes close to Leeds city centre is due to be completed later this year. Half of the properties will form a brand new cohousing community, one of around just 20 in the country.

Work on the £9.3 million development at Leopold Street in Chapeltown began in the summer of 2019 with the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Eileen Taylor, laying the first stone. Last week representatives of the project partners visited the scheme which is a joint venture between BME-led housing association Unity Homes & Enterprise and Chapeltown Cohousing (ChaCo).

Despite some delays associated with the pandemic, Unity is on course to complete 30 one- and two-bed flats for people aged 55 and over by November.  ChaCo’s element of the scheme – comprising 29 houses and flats, a ‘common house’ and space for three self build units – is expected to be ready in March 2022.

Cohousing is a means of bringing individuals and families together in groups to share common aims and activities whilst enjoying their own self-contained accommodation. As well as their own private homes, everyone has the use of shared facilities in the ‘common house’ which includes washing machines, guest rooms and a large kitchen and dining room where everyone can eat.

Homes England provided £1.4million in grant support to the project with the Housing Infrastructure Fund allocating £1.34million. The remaining finance was secured by a combination of private finance and savings from ChaCo stakeholders who will live in the cohousing properties upon completion.

Cedric Boston, Unity interim chief executive, said: “The concept behind this scheme is to connect residents to the community even when they are inside their home by having the ability to look out to the shared space, keep in touch with the everyday lives of friends and neighbours and come out to join them. From Unity’s point of view, it is part of a bigger picture to provide high quality accommodation for older people, supporting them moving out of large family properties and backfilling these with families who urgently need that form of housing. It is Unity’s second purpose-built facility to support this strategic objective, the first being a £3.2 million development of 28 affordable homes for the over 55s in nearby Chapel Allerton which officially opened in June 2016.”

 

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