OTLEY'S MP is backing a group that is hoping to create a new local co-housing community.

Otley Community Land Trust (CLT) is exploring the idea, which would see affordable homes built and run by their residents, as a way of tackling soaring rents and house prices.

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) first met the group last year, and is keen to lend his support.

He said: "I was then General Manager of Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber, already supporting two community housing developments in Leeds.

"I wanted to support the Otley Trust’s aim of building low-impact homes and I’ve since stayed in touch to work with them on finding land and funding for affordable community housing in Otley.

"Co-housing communities are built, created and run by their residents.

"As private rents and house prices continue to rise in our area, this kind of community-led enterprise is a small but important step in meeting local housing needs."

Still in its infancy the Otley group has secured a grant from Locality, which also gives practical help on choosing a legal structure, funding guidance, and mentoring.

The Locality funding for Otley CLT came through Leeds Community Homes, which hopes to support the building of 1,000 affordable community homes across the Leeds area over the next decade.

Elaborating on the local plans, Otley CLT member Sam Lawson said: "We’re looking for a suitable brownfield site to build perhaps 20 to 30 energy efficient, environmentally friendly and affordable homes and provide a shared community space.

"We also want to use natural materials such as straw bales, that are low-carbon and highly insulating."

Recently joined member Penny Redwood added: "I was attracted by the idea of a diverse housing community with age-friendly design, so people can manage independently in their own homes well into their old age."

The group is now busy researching, networking and exploring potential sites in Otley - and is keen to welcome new recruits.

Laura Moss said: "We’d love to hear from anyone who wants to know more and who is perhaps looking for housing solutions or to be part a community with shared values - or to help shape the development of housing in Otley."

In co-housing communities each household has a self-contained, private home along with shared community space and residents team up to manage things and share activities.

To find out more send an e-mail to info@otleyclt.org.uk .