This time last year we had a Christmas party and enjoyed spending time together and remembering that co-housing is about fun and enjoyment not just paperwork. We were looking forward to having many more meetings, walks, cake and coffee sessions with people who were interested in finding out more about co-housing and hopefully finding more people who wanted to join us. However along with everyone else our plans have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 (coronavirus sars-cov-2) and we have had delays and alterations in our plans. We have very happily gained more associate members this year and are slowly getting more people involved in helping us to take this exciting project forward.
Despite the fact that progress has been made more difficult than we would have liked this year due to the pandemic we have still managed to move forwards. We have identified a potential site and have been working with the fabulous Barefoot Architects to draw up some schemes for our pre-planning application. We have now completed our initial feasibility study (there will be much more to come!) after receiving outline costings for the project from our quantity surveyors and feedback from the Planning Dept. We were very pleased that the planning department were not opposed, in principle, to development of the site and had a good online conversation with them and our architect.
The financial assessment from the quantity surveyors was a sobering read and projected quite a substantial shortfall for us, however we are hopeful that grant funding will be available to cover a substantial part of this. We are also looking at changes that we can make to the scheme that may have cost saving benefits
There are still some issues to iron out to ensure the development is viable, but we are determined to explore every avenue we can to make it possible. Getting some drawings of possible site layout from Barefoot Architects has made it seem much more tangible. Have a look at this drawing to give you an idea of what our co-housing project could look like. The large building at one end of the site is the Common House with the houses facing into the central pedestrianised communal area. As you will see, we plan to keep private gardens quite small to maximise the communal space. Please bear in mind that this is in no way a final design for the houses but just an illustrative idea of a site layout.