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Strawbale Homes, Allotments & a Pond – Building Your Dream

People in Leeds got together to build their own affordable eco-homes in the stunning LILAC community housing development. Photo: Andy Lord

If you’d love to build your own home but might struggle to do it on your own or fund it, you could team up with others in your community. That’s exactly what a group of people in Leeds did, and the result was a pretty amazing community housing development of 20 eco-homes, complete with a communal building, allotments and even a pond!

Join us for a talk by one of the residents to hear how they did it, including the pioneering way they funded it. It’s the perfect time to consider doing this, as there’s support available in Cumbria, through the new Community Led Housing Hub Cumbria & Lancaster.

The Leeds development is known as the LILAC community. The homes are a combination of strawbale houses and flats. At the heart of the development is the central Common House with shared post room, kitchen, dining room, multi-function rooms, office, workshop and laundry facilities. The development also boasts bike sheds, a pond, allotments, communal gardens and a play area.

The homes and land are managed by residents through a ‘Mutual Home Ownership Society’ – a pioneering financial model that ensures permanent affordability.

LILAC stands for ‘Low Impact Living Affordable Community’, and their story began back in 2006, when five Leeds residents began exploring the idea of building their own homes, so they could live and bring up their children in a different way. Their dream became a reality in 2013, when the first residents moved into this inspiring development.

This is a fantastic and rare opportunity to hear about LILAC from one of its residents, Eden Ballantyne. Eden will share the story of how this low-carbon housing scheme started, how it was built, the system of mutual home ownership and what it is like to live there.

Community-led housing has great potential for providing quality, affordable, low-energy homes in Cumbria, tailored to the needs of local people. Come along and get inspired by what local people have achieved in Leeds, one of the best examples of community housing in the country.

The talk is on Wednesday 18 March 2020, starting at 1.30pm, at Eden Rural Enterprise Centre, Redhills, Penrith. Tickets are free but must be booked online in advance as places are limited:

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