Hopes for 40 new homes in ethical project

Hebden Bridge and Todmorden Community Self-Build community interest company members and friends, from the left, Chris Goddard, Martin McGarrigle, Anna Bateman, Jim Peterken,  Amanda Batty with three-year-old son Marley and Gordon Rimer. Chris's pet dog is Alfie.
Hebden Bridge and Todmorden Community Self-Build community interest company members and friends, from the left, Chris Goddard, Martin McGarrigle, Anna Bateman, Jim Peterken, Amanda Batty with three-year-old son Marley and Gordon Rimer. Chris's pet dog is Alfie.

Two self-build housing co-operatives have joined forces to drive forward schemes which could see around 40 sustainable and affordable homes built in the Calder Valley.

Hebden Bridge and Todmorden Community Self-Build Housing (HATS) is a community interest company representing two mutual home ownership co-operatives.

Todmorden-based Sustainable Low Impact Community Eco-homes (SLICE) and Hebden Bridge Community Self-Build Housing aim to build 20 such homes in each town, built to the Government’s code for sustainable homes under the zero carbon initiative, using local businesses to source materials along the way. They are already looking for possible sites.

Those taking part in the project will help self-build all the homes, community building and allottment space, each giving 15 hours a week of their time.

Chris Goddard, of the Hebden scheme, said there were routes to funding through schemes like the Homes and Communities Agency affordable homes programme. Prime Minister David Cameron has said the Big Society Capital and Big Lottery Fund have agreed to make available a quarter of a billion pounds over seven years to allow community organisations to undertake feasability work, acquire and develop land and run them as a viable business.

Amanda Batty, of the Todmorden scheme, added: “This sort of project is taking off around the country so we can draw on the experience of groups like Lilac in Leeds and Lancaster Co-Housing in the Calder Valley. We have to use as much of local materials and suppliers as we can.”

It is HATS’ aim to provide training and services to the wider community, including construction skills, allottments and a community kitchen on the Todmordren site with links to Incredible Edible. The project will be ethical - fair rent sustainable housing, with rents to remain affordable in perpetuity, says HATS, which currently has a directorship of 12 people.