Thunderbirds are go!

On January 13 2014, Haringey approved Hanover’s planning application for the St Luke’s Hospital site.  Subject to approval by the Mayor’s office and the smooth passage of Section 106 agreements, we now have one less hurdle ahead. If all goes well Hanover’s project is likely go out to tender around March time – we will have a clearer idea of their timetable for starting on site before long.

Hanover made concessions on family-type affordable housing for the site to satisfy the planners, but 70% of the site will be for Hanover’s key constituency, over 55s, particularly down-sizers. The planning report confirmed that density of the proposed housing development is at the lower end of the Mayor’s specifications. St Luke’s will remain a green, leafy site and will open up its currently enclosed central garden for general enjoyment. Our garden retains its courtyard shape and there is still space for our allotment intentions.

We are delighted that Haringey has supported this application and that we can proceed with our cohousing community. Through getting to know each other now, we will be off to a flying start in this new neighbourhood. Here’s looking forward to the creation of a friendly supportive environment for the future as we get older – not just for ourselves but for others too – so come join us!

Our next steps as a group feature a fresh recruitment drive for buyers into our scheme. If all goes well, discussions with the architects to revisit our plans are on the cards. We next meet on Sunday January 19 – anyone interested, please see Contact us.

Planning decision for St Luke’s Monday 13 January

All Cohousing Woodside hands will be on deck next Monday to witness the planning sub-committee decision for the St Luke’s application.  We will be in the gallery on Monday, supporting Hanover. Because the application now comes with a recommendation for approval from the planning officers there is an fair chance, this time, that permission will be granted.

Anyone wanting to learn more about the proposals might like to turn up for 7.00 Monday night at the Council Chamber, The Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8L.  The full report to committee can be found on the following link:

http://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=728&MId=6363&Ver=4

July 2013’s refusal of the previous application was mostly on the grounds that the plans had not met Haringey Council’s declared preference for more ‘general needs’ social housing. This is subsidised accommodation for local families as opposed to housing for older people. From the report, it looks as if the two parties have agreed a position on this point, with 12 units for families and 36 for people over 55. The significance of this lies in its impact on demand for education locally, where existing schools have no capacity. The Council is requiring Hanover to pay nearly £700k as a contribution to the expected ‘child yield’ from just under one third of the scheme.

Generally, it appears to have been accepted that the attractiveness and amenities of the St Luke’s site will be preserved as far as possible. The application is for 161 units altogether, all built to ‘Lifetime Homes’ standards, offering adaptability for declining mobility.. The density of development for the entire site is at the lower end of the Mayor’s requirements – much more could be built, but Hanover wishes to keep and enhance the desirability of the site as a place to live.

There is a planning requirement that St Luke’s be designated a ‘car restricted development’, with 100 car-spaces in a basement car-park, surface-level blue-badge parking and no permissible on-street parking.  In recognition of this, there will be car-club spaces for three cars and investment in more bus-stops. Hanover is likely to offer free car-club membership for residents and £50 credit for the first year.

Cohousing immersion evening

We welcomed Melanie Nock from the Community Project, Sussex, at our end-of year party in December. This was well-attended – by members of forming groups in London and individuals interested in finding out more about cohousing.

Melanie gave an account of how this pioneering Community Project started, with a small group of young professionals with kids who responded to an ad in the Guardian nearly 20 years ago. Some salutary lessons emerged  – while you can aim for the blue sky, what you end up with is what you can afford.  Throughout the fifteen years or so that the community has been settled, change and turnover have been dominant themes, and flexibility on the part of the community an absolute necessity.  Still a vibrant and successful scheme, the Community Project offers a positive case-study for other would-be cohousers. Melanie had to get back home to feed the horses the next morning – that won’t be an issue at Cohousing Woodside!

Our next group meeting will be on January 19. See ‘Contact us’ for details.