We visited Springhill co housing project in November 2018 and again in February2019.
These are some of the interesting things we noted:
Springhill is a well established site, with 34 properties, raging from 1bedroom flats to 5 bedroom houses. There are 75 residents, about 20 children, most people aged 40-60
The Houses are light and airy, quite open plan, high lofts often converted into extra room with mezzanine. Many have wood burning stoves, large houses through to 1 bedroom studio flats (over the covered parking bays). Construction – wood super insulated foam, triple glazed, no roof trusses so lots of high ceilings and velux windows. All the places we saw had nice large rooms. It had more of a European open plan feel than a Barratt box small rooms.
They received a £20K grant to add solar tiles
Each original resident put in £6,000 towards building the Common house which was built after rest of houses.
The kitchen and dining area were welcoming. People eat there Wed Thurs Fri. Everyone is expected to cook once a month. Meals are already decided in advance and food bought. They are vegetarian with a vegan option and a simpler children’s option eg. jacket potato.
The Common house is used for things like yoga sessions and a choir, and for children to play in, teenagers to chill. There was a pool table.
One of the main unifying things that happens is the annual panto written by one of the residents and performed in the common house.
The common house had large wide doored ‘disabled’ toilets on top & ground floor with a lift as well. This was intentional design from the start and there had been wheelchair using members/residents living there over the years.
There are residents’ meetings fortnightly, with alternate fortnights being single issue discussion and the other fortnight being decision making general meetings. The group uses consensus decision making.
There was a small green area with play equipment, small pond, and lots of benches. Gathering spot in summertime.
New buyers sign a lease which sets out the principles of the community. Each new member is allocated a ‘buddy’ to help smooth the moving in process.