31 October 2016
Caroline Lucas MP speaks with members of Leeds Community Homes
Caroline Lucas, the highly regarded Green Party MP for Brighton, was in Leeds on Thursday 27th October to give the Olof Palme Memorial Peace lecture. She heaped praise on an innovative new 'people powered' housing scheme in the city after a visit there with members of Leeds Green Party.
Leeds Community Homes aim to generate a 'People Powered Homes Revolution' by crowd-funding (i.e. raising money through public subscription) for affordable and environmentally sound housing for the city. They want to build 1000 such homes in the coming decade.
They launched their first public share issue this month and hope to build sixteen 1 and 2 bedroom flats, via an arrangement with Leeds City Council, as part of the acclaimed 'Climate Innovation District' development. This development, led by local developers Citu, is on the riverfront near Hunslet and is part of the wider 'South Bank regeneration plan'.
On site, Caroline Lucas commented: "In the face of a nationwide housing crisis, it's brilliant to see local projects like Leeds Community Homes helping people get a decent place to live at an affordable price. Successive Governments have let people down when it comes to housing – but thanks to the hard work of this project, genuinely affordable and environmentally sound homes are being made available to the people of Leeds."
Paul Belbin of local housing association GIPSIL, one of the key partners driving Leeds Community Homes, commented: "We're excited that our first project is part of this forward looking development. It brings together everything we care about: affordable, sustainable housing in cooperative communities."
Ed Carlisle of Leeds Green Party added: "It's been great to give Caroline a snapshot of some of the fantastic, ground-breaking work happening here in Leeds. We're facing many challenges now and in the coming years, but there are a lot of good people making good things happen."
Caroline Lucas MP with members of Green Parties in Leeds before speaking at the Olof Palme lecture
Caroline was in Leeds to deliver the annual Olof Palme Memorial Peace lecture, on the subject of 'War and Peace in the Modern World', at the invitation of Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council. She focussed on current and future global threats, alongside solutions that will help build a more secure stable world for all. She also talked about the threat posed by the ecological crisis in particular and set out what she thinks Britain’s foreign policy ought to look like.
Leeds Community Homes is a Community Land Trust. Their initial share issue is open to the public until 19th December, with investment starting from £100; they aim to start paying 2% interest per year on shares from 2020. The public are also welcome to join as members of the trust, for just £1.
Leeds Community Homes has been founded and led by a partnership of local organisations and individuals including: Canopy Housing, GIPSIL, Paul Chatterton of LILAC, Leeds Environmental Design Associates, the Empty Homes Doctor, and James Hartley of LATCH.
The overall £125m 'Climate Innovation District' - led by developers Citu, and previously referred to as the 'Low Fold' development - will include over 500 low-carbon homes, offices, leisure space, and a manufacturing facility to construct the homes. Initial operations started on site earlier this year, with construction due to start in early 2017, and completion by 2019. Citu will release full details of the development in November 2016. Further details at www.citu.co.uk.
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