Establishing a new cohousing community

One of the solicitors in our community led housing team, Laura Moss, has been working hard over the last few months to develop her own cohousing project.  She gives us an update on her plans in this article, which is intended to be the first in a series.

"I joined Wrigleys partly because of my interest in cohousing and the community sector.  It is one of the very few firms that specialises in this area and felt like a natural fit with my own values. 

For the last few years, some friends and I have been talking about the idea of setting up our own cohousing community, having been inspired by projects featured in television programmes such as Grand Designs.

While I was on maternity leave last year, an opportunity came up to buy some land.  Finding land is one of the principal barriers for any new cohousing group, but we were lucky enough to find a suitable plot with relatively little effort.

The site is in South Cumbria and has outline planning permission for five dwellings.  This makes it a very small cohousing scheme – it is more common to find developments with between 10 and 40 houses. 

We will all have our own private home, and will share common areas and facilities.  This will include a large field at the back of the property, on which we will have an orchard and allotments, plus a simple common building.

We are all intending to build eco-homes of some variety.  My partner and I are looking at Passivhaus designs, as we would like to minimise our resource use in the future.  We are also looking at the use of natural materials wherever possible.

We are particularly excited because we have just completed the purchase of the land.  Our next meeting on site is to discuss the next steps we need to take, to make our development a reality.

The last few months have been an incredibly useful insight into the process and hurdles which a cohousing group must go to in order to create a community.  It is also fantastically exciting and I look forward to the months ahead.

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