Affordable eco homes have been allowed to be built on green belt land in the Holme Valley.

The 10 homes have been given the green light for the green belt because they are for people to rent who would otherwise be unable to live in their local area.

In a move that’s thought to be the first of its kind in Kirklees the homes will be built on the site of an old stone quarry at Chippings off Chapelgate in Scholes.

They are being built by EcoHolmes Community Land Trust, a Holme Valley based charitable organisation set up to provide homes that people can afford to rent or buy and also afford to heat and have reduced carbon emissions to help counter climate change. The homes will remain owned by the Trust and be only for people with local connections.

EcoHolmes management board chair Stephen Sheard said: “We are a local charitable trust run by volunteers which seeks to provide affordable, low-energy homes for people in housing need who live and work in the Holme Valley.

“We are delighted that Kirklees Council’s planning committee has the vision to support 10 families who can build their lives in the villages they come from, where they have their family around them.

“With a housing waiting list of 20,000 and private rent levels rocketing, this marks a small but important step in providing extra affordable rented housing in Kirklees.

“There is a pressing shortage of low-cost affordable housing in the Holme Valley both for sale and for rent. There is also a growing realisation that we need far more low energy housing as we move to a more sustainable lifestyle as part of our response to the climate emergency.”

The new homes will be built to high standards of energy efficiency ensuring lower fuel bills, at reduced rents and with secure tenancies.

EcoHolmes has worked closely with the Holme Valley Land Charity which owns the land and Connect Housing using ideas gathered through consultation across the Holme Valley.

Rachel Hogley, chair of Holme Valley Land Charity (HVLC), said: “We have been considering how we can best use our disused quarry sites for real community benefit.

“For many years this site in Scholes has been identified as a potential location for affordable homes for local people who are often priced out of our area.

“We are delighted that in partnership with EcoHolmes we have taken one step closer to achieving this aim by agreeing to transfer the site to EcoHolmes through a long-term leasehold.

“This arrangement will make sure the land is retained as an affordable housing site in perpetuity and also secure an annual rental for HVLC which we will ring fence for spending on local projects in the surrounding area.”

EcoHolmes now plans to acquire more land for affordable housing sites by asset transfers, donations, long term leases or by buying land and property. As a community business it can seek planning permission for sites not available for commercial housing developments.

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  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.