LILAC (Low Impact Living Affordable Community) the UK’s first affordable co-housing project, a community of 20 strawbale eco-build households in West Leeds designed by White Design. The homes and land are managed by residents through a Mutual Home Ownership Society, a pioneering financial model that ensures permanent affordability.

It began with a group of five Leeds residents, interested in the idea of building their own homes so they could live and bring up their children in a different way. After three years of intensive research and planning with help from additional members, they set up Lilac Mutual Home Ownership Society Ltd (MHOS) as a registered Co-operative Society. Building commenced in 2012 after the group (now much bigger) procured a builder and architect and raised development capital.

They used pre-fabricated straw panels from Modcell, building houses and blocks of flats, a central Common House (with shared post room, kitchen, dining room, multifunction rooms, office, workshop and laundry facilities), bike sheds, a pond, allotments and communal gardens and play area. Building was completed in 2013 and the first wave of residents moved in May 2013.