WORK is set to begin on York's first housing co-operative scheme.

The YorSpace development of 19 homes at Lowfield Green in Acomb aims to create permanently affordable houses that are owned as part of a co-operative.

And the homes will also be environmentally sustainable.

Co-director of the organisation James Newton said most of the homes in the £3.5 million development have now been allocated and work could start on the site before Christmas.

He said: "Most of the homes are now allocated - the future residents are absolutely getting excited.

"One of the key things is that we are all contributing - we have had a nice wave of new people joining and it's really exciting to all be working together as a group of neighbours."

He added that the need for affordable housing in York has never been greater, following a report last week that revealed that no area of the city is affordable for first time buyers: "It gave me confidence in our project because it's something that validates our own experiences [of looking for affordable homes]."

YorSpace has now launched a unique investment drive - in a bid to raise £500,000 towards the project through inviting residents and businesses to buy shares in the scheme.

James said the community share offer is a first for the UK and allows communities to take back control of how housebuilding is funded.

People can make a minimum investment of £250 and receive a maximum return of 2.5 per cent, which can be withdrawn from 2022, according to the organisation.

The development will feature a communal kitchen and dining room, shared laundrette, a workshop space where residents can use shared tools and cleaning equipment like vacuum cleaners, and allotments and a village green area.

Residents will also be expected to share cars, with a 15 space car park due to serve 19 homes.

It is expected to be completed by Christmas 2020.

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