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YorSpace

What they do

YorSpace is a Community Benefit Society and Community Land Trust. It was created in 2017 to begin a revolution in how housing development and home ownership is viewed and funded. It was born out of a desire to challenge the lack of affordable, environmentally sustainable housing in York, that is truly centered on the needs of the community. Their ambition is to create truly community-led housing that harnesses funding from the community to improve accessibility to ownership for local people.

What is a Community Land Trust (CLT)?

A Community Land Trust is a not-for-profit, democratically-controlled, community-based organisation, typically run by skilled volunteers, that aims to develop permanently affordable housing, and look after other assets for long term community benefit. CLTs often work best where the gap between household incomes and house prices is at its widest, like in York.

YorSpace hope that landowners who share CLT values will buy into an approach where the CLT pays a reasonable price based on what it can afford, and passes on the savings as affordability for future generations.


Lowfield Green

To date YorSpace has been working on planning and pre-development for their first development at Lowfield Green, Westfield. YorSpace will include the costs for this work in its lease to the Lowfield Green Housing Co-operative, recouping them for future developments.

 

YorSpace has agreed the purchase of a site at Lowfield Green, Westfield, York, and has planning permission for their first development of 19 homes. This comprises a mixture of 1 & 2 bed flats, 2, 3 and 4 bed houses. These are situated around a shared courtyard/garden area and common house with communal facilities including guest accommodation, launderette, flexible office space and a large open plan communal kitchen diner area.


Development Approach

Community-led housing that is delivered by YorSpace is developed in partnership with residents, grant funders, investors, City of York Council and volunteers. Development results in autonomous resident Mutual Home Ownership Societies (MHOS) leasing land from YorSpace upon which their homes are built. To achieve this result, development occurs in three phases: Pre-development, development and post-development.

Pre-development is characterised by: site identification, viability assessment, forming a residents group, negotiating the land purchase, applying for planning permission, raising community share capital and purchase of land.

Development is characterised by: formation of the residents MHOS, leasing of land to the MHOS, a loan arrangement set up between YorSpace and the MHOS with a reciprocal development agreement between YorSpace and MHOS signed. These agreements provide advice, support and Clerk of Work to the MHOS by YorSpace and guarantee the MHOS will create the housing for which YorSpace has obtained planning permission. The MHOS take responsibility for raising development loan funding and completing the construction process, with support from YorSpace.

Post-development is characterised by: Residents taking possession of housing and the loan for the premium starting to be repaid. Investors are able to begin withdrawing share capital during this period.


Long Term Plans

YorSpace aims to disrupt the housing market in York. Following the successful delivery of Lowfield Green and the establishment of the resident housing Co-op, YorSpace will continue to grow and help facilitate more community led housing in York. They intend to do at least 2 similar sized developments by 2025, creating 50 more homes. To fund this, they will do more time bound community share offers and move to an open offer after 3 years, where shares are available for purchase all the time. In this way they aim to keep the society capitalised whilst allowing share withdrawal.

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