Tag Archives: St Luke’s

St Luke’s shortlisted for Housing Design Awards 2014

Our architects, Pollard Thomas Edwards’projected design for the  St Luke’s site was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Housing Design Awards 2014.

PTEa St Luke's visualisation

Housing Design Awards is an non-profit organisation drawing on expertise across the housing industry to champion the value of good design.  One of its most important activities, now in its 64th year, is a national assessment programme, sponsored by government and the Greater London Authority, of new developments in the British housing sector.  This culminates annually with schemes shortlisted as the best from a broad range of entries.  This shortlist of completed and projected schemes is visited by a multi-disciplinary team of 16 judges.

The winners were announced on July 15 this year at a ceremony and reception held at the amazing new Saw Swee Hock Centre at the London School of Economics.  Two members of Cohousing Woodside were invited by Hanover to attend.  The overall winner was ‘Abode’development in Great Kneighton, Cambridgeshire by Proctor and Matthews, but CW representatives were proud that PTEa were part of the shortlist.



St Luke’s site visit – Sunday 1 June

Now that planning permission for the St Luke’s project has been confirmed and the construction work is out for tender, the site will soon see a great deal of preparatory activity.  Cohousing Woodside takes advantage of these last months of quiet and has organised a site visit meeting for all those interested in joining us.

This meeting will be on Sunday 1 June, starting earlier than usual at 4pm.

Gather at the Woodside Avenue entrance by Symmonds House at 3.55pm and we shall take everyone on a guided tour to the cohousing site.  With luck we shall have access to the ‘secret garden’ and some parts of the site currently denied to the public.

Sunday 1 June happens to be the day of the Big Lunch, a nationwide event aiming to get neighbours together in a simple act of community and fun.  Our session is not timed for the midday lunch, more the 4pm high tea.  Bring a chair each, finger food and juices to share.  When we pause for our ‘picnic’ visitors will have the opportunity to find out more about our progress on growing the cohousing community in Muswell Hill.

Undeterred by weather

Woodside Avenue (Symmonds Houseentrance)

St Luke’s mental hospital, London N10 3HU   4 – 5.30pm

Design workshop

Discussions are ongoing with Savills (Hanover’s project managers) and PTEa (our architects). At the end of February, members took part in a workshop with landscape architect Farrer Huxley. The Cohousing Woodside gardens will have its own distinct character (one of five ‘characters’ within the St Luke’s site).  The central courtyard will be semi-formal and more ‘showy’ in nature. Our rear garden will have allotment style raised beds, a plunge dept reservoir connected to the site’s SuDS (Sustainable Drainage System).   Espaliered fruit trees will characterise the plantings for both gardens, which should be highly productive once in fruit.

P1110794Our next meeting for visitors will be on Sunday March 16. Interested visitors are reminded that price terms are subject to review every 6 months, which should encourage the uncertain to take the plunge and seek to join as full members. Now is also the time when members can still have some influence on what goes into our scheme – this will be fixed once contracts with a developer are concluded.

Our latest Development Plan, issue 5, is now on this website.  Issue 6 will follow in late April after further meetings with Savills.

Design workshop 27 February for Cohousing Woodside members

The Cohousing Woodside development is set to go.  At a recent meeting with Savills’ project manager and architects, we were informed that GLA has supported Haringey Council’s planning decision for the St Luke’s site.  Hanover is preparing for Section 106 agreements and procurement during the current 6 week moratorium period.

We agreed a broad plan of action for the near future, amongst which is the potential for a design workshop at PTEa.  This will also be our first opportunity to meet the Landscape architects.

According to Savills, if all goes well, they hope to appoint a contractor by the end of summer and start on site in September 2014.

Lots of details will be revealed at the next Cohousing Woodside meeting on Sunday February 16 

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:


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.

“Homes will be freed up for others”

Joan M Smith of Fortismere Avenue N10 attended the planning sub-committee meeting on 8 July, where she addressed the councilors eloquently, then wrote a valiant heart felt letter in support of housing needs for the over-55s.  This was published in the local paper Ham & High in their 25 July edition.

Read it here online on Ham & High’s site

The OPINION letter is on page 24.  You can skip the initial advertising video after a few seconds.  Click on the page to zoom in.

Planning application for St Luke’s rejected

Last night’s presentation by Bruce Moore, CEO of Hanover, seemed to us in the gallery an eloquent and convincing case for meeting LB Haringey’s policy requirements for general needs social housing. The arguments were not that easy to follow, but the core of the Hanover case was that 51 older tenants of the borough’s existing stock would be offered incentives to move out of under-occupied social housing, freeing this up for the families the Council wishes to house – and therefore housing more people. Not only would older tenants be offered very attractive alternative housing in a desirable area but Hanover would add its own cash incentives per bedroom to the cash offered by the Council. This was not an argument most of the planning committee members wished to accept.


The borough has large numbers of families in dire need of rental accommodation. The problem for Hanover – and therefore for Cohousing Woodside –  is that the spread of general needs housing is uneven through the borough and councillors wish to redress this by locating it specifically on the St Luke’s site. That Hanover, as a charity constitutionally restricted to housing provision for older people, cannot provide for families, was an argument that fell on deaf ears. The housing association has upped its numbers of social rentals, all to be provided at no cost to the public purse and effectively subsidising the borough’s housing stock in the absence of grant.  However, this is for people over 55. Moore quoted to the Committee its own policy priorities relating to older people, but these did not seem to be rated as important by the councillors.  When challenged by a councillor to bring a more family-oriented housing association to the St Luke’s site to deliver the general needs housing, Bruce Moore stated that this could be possible, but the result would be a much smaller total number of homes provided, as Hanover’s investment would and could not be on the table.

A clear majority of committee members decided to reject the application on the grounds that it failed to meet the Council’s policy requirements for general needs housing – ie. family housing, not housing for older people. Hanover’s position was that the Council’s requirements were contingent on ‘viability’. In other words, with an objective assessment of how the finances stack up, a calculation of how much social rental accommodation could be provided. Opinions on ‘viability’ at the July planning sub-committee remained poles apart.  Thus Hanover will appeal.

For the Cohousing Woodside group, this position was not unexpected. It means considerable further delay. However, it also affords us more time to grow and consolidate the group. If the appeal supports the Council’s arguments, and compromises are forced on Hanover, there may be knock-on consequences for the Cohousing scheme, but these remain to be seen. For the locals around St Luke’s, their fears about over-burdening local schools may turn out to be well founded. For Haringey residents in the over 55 age-bracket, particularly those affected by the bedroom tax and looking for somewhere smaller to move to, the message seems to be that there is adequate sheltered housing and they are in no way a priority of Haringey Council.

Maria Brenton

Monday 8 July 7pm Planning committee

The latest word is that Haringey Council’s planning sub-committee will meet on Monday 8th July to determine the St Luke’s site application.  Do come along to lend support to Hanover’s redevelopment proposal.

The committee will meet at Haringey Council, Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, London N22 8ZW.  Click here for a map.   It starts at 7pm and is open to the public. The St Luke’s redevelopment might be first on the Agenda if a lot of people turn up.

Sketch map of the Muswell Hill area around St Luke's site