Lord Mayor of Leeds lays first stone at £9.3m housing development.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds has laid the first stone on what is said to be a innovative housing development, that will lay the foundations of a new co-housing community in Chapeltown.

More than 60 new homes are to be provided at the £9.3 million Leopold Park scheme, which is a combined venture between BME-led housing association, Unity Homes and Enterprise, and Chapeltown Cohousing (ChaCo).

Unity will build 30, one and two bed flats for people over 55. ChaCo will construct 29 houses and flats, a ‘common house’, and provide space for four self-build units.

The site was owned by Leeds City Council after previously being occupied by a social services office, which became vacant prior to demolition. The development is due for completion by March 2021.

The Lord Mayor commented “It is a wonderful and fascinating concept. We live in challenging times. I am all for new ideas which bring people together.”

Cohousing is a means of bringing individuals and families together in groups to share common aims and activities whilst enjoying their own self-contained accommodation.

Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive, Ali Akbor, commented saying “Unity is rightly focussed on providing high quality affordable homes. But we are also driven by a desire to regenerate communities, create life opportunities and address inequalities within sustainable neighbourhoods. This scheme ticks all of those boxes and underscores that we are doing our job well.

“As an organisation which emanated from Leeds BME community more than three decades ago, it is hugely appropriate that Councillor Taylor is laying the first stone as the city’s first black Lord Mayor.”

Lord Mayor, Councillor Taylor added: “I have followed the progress of this revolutionary initiative very closely. Unity has a long-standing reputation for providing first-class affordable homes for people across the city. Based in Chapeltown, they know the area and the needs of local residents incredibly well. They do an excellent job.”

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