The third stop on Rob's study tour was to the Low Impact Living Affordable Community (LILAC) in Leeds. LILAC is comprised of five two- and three-storey timber framed straw bale housing blocks grouped around a common house and communal garden. The 20 dwellings have access to private gardens and community veggie plots. 10 car spaces are located on the fringe of the development, with home owners either co-owning or sharing a vehicle, or riding a bike.
Addressing affordability, the project was set up as a Mutual Home Ownership Society, which is a pioneering co-operative structure where members buy into the development through a 10% construction cost deposit plus a commitment to paying 35% of their annual salary to a fund. The construction was paid for by using the deposit money and sourcing a loan via a small ethical banking society. The members' 35% salary sacrifice pays off the mortgage plus also goes to upkeep of the communal facilities in the project, such as the common house and kitchen, communal laundry and workshop, and general building maintenance.
This development truly has a community feel. Walking around the development with Lara Eggleton, a resident of LILAC, we observed the impromptu activities that the residents were participating in and it was clear to see that the housing project was brining people together.