A COMMUNITY housing group is drawing up plans for a shared ownership homes scheme on an old York school site.

YorSpace has been invited to put together plans for part of the old Lowfield school site in Acomb, as the council draws up its own plans for the site.

YorSpace had previously made a bid for the old Oliver House care home in Bishophill, at the end of Priory Street, but was passed over in favour of a higher bid from retirement homes specialist McCarthy and Stone, and the group also missed out on the former Grove House care home.

James Newton, who is part of the campaign group, said they were delighted when council staff invited them to submit a design for part of the Lowfield Green development.

The council published a masterplan for the site earlier this year, setting out initial ideas for housing, open space, self-built plots, a care home, and health or police facilities; and launched a public consultation on the scheme.

James said: “At the moment they have identified self-build plots, which is fantastic.

"We would have liked to see community housing, but it is great that we have been asked to take part.”

The race is now on for YorSpace to get its proposals in by the consultation deadline - which is Monday - but the group’s members are hopeful that council officers would accept their submissions, even if late.

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Their early ideas for Lowfield are for a 14 unit co-operative housing complex - similar to the scheme they wanted to create at Oliver House - with a community building and some shared space.

As a co-operatively owned scheme the homes would never go on to the open market and so should stay affordable, he added, and the homes and land in between would all be owned collectively by the occupants.

He said: “We are looking at a couple of areas on the site, and we are trying to be challenging.

"We like the amount of open space in the masterplan, but it is very car heavy and we think that could be changed to make more plots available.”

The Lowfield redevelopment and a plan for a new care home on the site is part of the wider overhaul of older people’s accommodation in York, as is the similar redevelopment plan for the Burnholme school site in Tang Hall.

A decision on the Lowfield plans is due at a council executive meeting in December.