Cohousing Woodside met again on Sunday March 17 and welcomed around a dozen visitors who came for the first time to enquire into the project and have supper with us.
In an informal get-together it became clear that most were looking both to downsize and to find congenial neighbours and a sense of community. A number said that this would be their final move and last home if they join us.
We went through large scale plans of the site, explained the main features of Passivhaus standards, and discussed some of the planning issues that have yet to be resolved. We ourselves are hoping to have some more certainty on valuations within the next week, as prices are, understandably, a key concern.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation asks if cohousing is a solution to the housing and community needs of older people.
This paper outlines the benefits of cohousing and draws on successful cohousing examples in Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands and the growing movement in the USA. The research integrated feedback from the events hosted in conjunction with the UK Cohousing Network and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to explore and support developing senior cohousing groups.
There are not yet any ‘built’ examples of senior cohousing in the UK, though there are many groups in development. The report outlines its potential at a time when the typical housing ‘menu’ available to older people is still very limited. Support often amounts to domiciliary care (until needs become too intensive), followed by sheltered/extra care housing (if available locally) and/or a place in a care home.
On Sunday March 3, Cohousing Woodside members met with PTEa, the architects for the St Luke’s site. This was a sequel to past workshops to consult on the specific layouts of our mix of dwellings – flats, duplexes and houses.
We caught up on various planning issues as part of a broad planning timeframe which will, hopefully, see completion of our scheme in early 2016. There was an opportunity to discuss the advantages of timber frame and concrete, their relevance to passivhaus design, the impact of fire regulations, how sound insulation will be secured, not forgetting the more practical concerns about bike and buggy sheds, charging facilities for electric vehicles, a car club space and storage issues– within units and, possibly, in the underground carpark. It was a good meeting and gave us all a sense of progress.