PCDN is also interested in housing cooperatives.

Co-operatives, be it housing or business, are not-for-profit and democratic organisations run for and by their members.

They can be large developments where people have chosen to live collectively so they might share resources such as gardens, launderettes etc and may decide to have a weekly meal cooked and eaten together. Or they might be individual homes built in close proximity to each other.

Living in a housing cooperative means that residents self-manage their homes, have security and pay farer costs for their rent.

Residents can own their properties collectively, paying intone mortgage or they can both tenants and landlords.

The Tea Bar, 10- 12 Lancaster Road, Preston.

Members of PCDN have also looked at our High Streets and old and unused properties which might be adapted for new use.

The Tea Bar was identified as a much-loved local landmark which had fallen into disuse and disrepair.

We decided that the renovation of this prominent building would turn a liability into an asset.

It would save the building for the community, provide safe and healthy living accommodation for young people, a new workspace for exhibitions, increase footfall and revitalise an old building in the city centre.

The Central Lancashire Housing Study from last year highlights the need for affordable rentable properties within Preston and the surrounding area and Preston CC is committed to the Preston Model, a new economic approach to drive change in the city and its environs.

A key factor in this is the development of coops and education for graduates on coops as an option for new venture creation.

Our aim is to provide safe and reasonably priced accommodation to young creative graduates from UCLAN, to encourage them to live and work in Preston, and with our support, to develop worker coops and housing coops.

This project will convert the upper floors of the Tea Bar into 6 residential units on the first and second floors.

The conversion will make best use of the layout and arrangement of the building, with the horizontal circulation to the rear of the building and being sympathetic to the listing status of the building.

Access will be through the existing opening on to Lancaster Road.

The final configuration will be worked through with the Housing Cooperative, looking at their needs and working with them to best resolve them, while also being aware of the restraints of the building, its listed status and statutory requirements.

For example, the corridor at the rear could double up as additional social spaces as well as providing the access to each unit.

Workspaces will be available on the ground floor and use the existing opening onto the street. It is envisaged that this will be a rentable workspace for the residential units and act as a shop front to the work being undertaken by the Cooperative.

The extremely large basement will provide rentable office space for start-up businesses.

Two members of our group formed a not-for-profit organisation, ACT for Housing Ltd to raise funds to start the process of renovating this building.

With initial funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund, we have started the process and are delighted to find that Preston City Council who own the building, have included us in their Towns Fund bid.