PLANS for York’s first housing co-operative have been approved – and residents could move in by Christmas 2020.

Proposals for the communal living scheme - where people would eat meals together, share their cars and grow their own food – have been given the green light by council planning bosses.

Organisation YorSpace will build 19 homes within a larger development at the former Lowfield School site in Acomb.

The scheme includes a shared laundrette, a workshop space where residents can use shared tools and cleaning equipment like vacuum cleaners, and allotments and a village green area.

A City of York Council planning meeting heard that residents will not be able to own a car outright - instead they will share a vehicle with their neighbours.

And the organisation is hoping to build similar developments in other parts of the city.

James Newton from YorSpace said: “We represent over 170 members and we prioritise York residents challenged by high rents and house prices. This is the first of what we hope will be several forever affordable, sustainable communities across York. We have an allocations policy that prioritises young people and families in housing need.”

The plans feature a mixture of one and two bedroom flats as well as two, three and four bedroom houses. The organisation says the homes will be built with environmentally-friendly materials and every roof will have a solar panel.

Cllr Peter Dew welcomed the application, saying: “I applaud the idea of a community-led housing scheme.”

And Green councillor Denise Craghill said: “I’d really like to welcome this application - the standards of sustainable building that it entails, the fact that it is going to be forever affordable - I think is a really useful model that I would like to see us promoting.”

Some residents raised concerns about the scale of the buildings and the loss of existing railings, but there were also a number of letters of support for sustainable, affordable housing. The committee unanimously approved the plans.