Great to see such close alignment between Hanover, Savills, and Cohousing Woodside!

In its publicity for the Hanover development, Savills writes:

“The acquisition, which followed an open market tender, was inspired by the North London Sustainable Housing Partnership, a co-housing group of local residents who have come together to find a housing opportunity where they can live in a mutually supportive community.”

It’s nice to be recognised as having inspired the development. Savills goes on to describe the plans for the site as providing “A new opportunity for down-sizers” and to ask:

Want to stay in Muswell Hill but have never found anywhere that meets your needs?

Want to stay in the area where you brought up your children and where most of your friends live?

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s like something that we said in February, when our blog said that we were:

“…really excited that Hanover’s bid has been successful. It has shown itself to be a really forward-looking organisation, and one that is seriously committed to working with local people rather than just developing the site for a quick profit. We think that a cohousing project is just what the area, and the local housing market, needs – an opportunity for local people who don’t need their family houses any more to stay in the neighbourhood where they have built up friendships and stable links.”

Community Feedback on Hanover’s plans for the St Lukes’ site

We received a copy of a local resident’s feedback from the recent exhibition held by Hanover. We are publishing an extract with permission from the person who submitted it.

“CONGRATULATIONS ON THESE EXCELLENT PROPOSALS. Well designed and affordable housing for over 55s is badly needed. The St Luke’s housing should help free up larger social housing units, and enable older tenants to make the transition to housing and a community that meets their needs after grown children have left home. Too often the alternatives offered to older social housing tenants fail to deliver this, causing them to hang on in overlarge accommodation which younger families badly need.

HANOVER and COHOUSING WOODSIDE ARE TO BE CONGRATULATED FOR THEIR INNOVATIVE THINKING IN PARTNERING TO INCLUDE A DIVERSE AND NEIGHBOURLY COHOUSING COMMUNITY IN THE SCHEME. This is an especially strong element in the overall scheme, offering real opportunities for all concerned to explore the benefits of new approaches to elder design that incorporate greater self-governing community participation and passivehaus developments for older citizens.

REDUCING THE ENTRY LEVEL AGE TO 50 FOR THE COHOUSING PART OF THE SITE IS TO BE APPLAUDED. Longer life spans and improved health mean expectations of elders in our community are changing. Building a community that embraces families in their mature working years, who are beginning to plan career downsizing, some with secondary and college age children, will enable a real exploration of new patterns in ageing and the transition to retirement. This offers a positive alternative to the potential ‘ghetto’ of ‘housing for the elderly’ – through a more outward looking community where active participation by older citizens in family, work and neighbourhood life can bring benefits for all – including improved health, well-being and independent community living for older citizens, and reduced calls on elder statutory support services. And in commercial terms, a self maintaining community of co-housing neighbours, with a common house as its hub, seems like a modern take on the neighbourhood ‘villages’ now being strongly promoted by estate agents, that homes there are likely to be in demand.

PASSIVHAUS DESIGN OFFERS REAL BENEFITS IN TERMS OF SAFE-GUARDING THE HEALTH AND INCOMES OF OLDER RESIDENTS, as steeply rising fuel bills make fuel poverty a reality for increasing numbers of retired people on fixed incomes, and more extreme weather conditions associated with climate change are set to hit vulnerable older residents harder than others in our communities. Mainstream contractors and estate agents have been slow off the mark in developing and promoting passivhaus capability, but as Building Regulations requirements for energy saving homes become more stringent, the gap is fast closing between standard build and passivhaus costs. In a rapidly changing industry and market place, engaging a specialist contractor to work with the main site contractor could be money well spent, and a real opportunity for all involved in this development to gain leading edge expertise in passivhaus elder design.”

Architects’ workshop number six!

Cohousing Woodside members held another workshop with our favourite architects, PTEA. This time we discussed the internal layout options for the individual units – we’d already spent a lot of time talking about the layout of the overall site. Once again the architects surpassed our expectations and held a really good interactive session.

My expectations of the overall process were very low going in – probably a result of too many worthless ‘consultation’ exercises carried out by local and central governnment, and by the corporate world. My jaded and cynical reservations have been thoroughly dashed. PTEA have genuinely engaged with us, really listened, and come up with some great ideas and layouts. Three cheers!