Tag Archives: Woodside Square

Incentive to downsize?

If you are ready to downsize from a substantial property and are keen to put energy and time into nurturing a neighbourly way of life – read on.

As Cohousing Woodside reassesses and regroups, it is clear that the prices for Woodside Grove reflect the market values Londoners expect of new build dwellings.   There’s no doubt that prices are not cheap.  Furthermore Woodside Square is a serviced development so those of us who are downsizing from freehold properties have to re-acquaint ourselves with budgeting for ground rent and service charges.

Developer's CGI aerial-view of Woodside Grove
Developer’s CGI aerial-view of Woodside Grove

 

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Can we or can’t we?

a report by Maria Brenton

January 16 and 17 saw the opening of the Woodside Square show flat for Cohousing Woodside members to meet sales staff by appointment.   We have received prices for our 30 units  but are not able to publicise them on this website until the end of January when the sales launch proper commences.

Suffice it to say, prices are high, based on Savills’ market assessment for Muswell Hill.   We are currently still waiting for Hanover to tell us what their service charges will be.

Our numbers have decreased by six households since then, as members whose budgets are less elastic departed reluctantly and sadly.     We shall miss them and feel aggrieved that they have put so much into our cohousing project only to be priced out of it.    Those of us who remain are seeking out new recruits to the group who are able to afford these properties and who are keen to put effort and energy into the group.

The developer's CGI perspective of Woodside Grove
The developer’s CGI perspective of Woodside Grove

We regret very much the impact on Cohousing Woodside of being kept waiting for several years before being told the prices.   Cohousing accrues its own priceless value in slowly building trust and familiarity between individual members as a basis for a well-functioning community of neighbours.   Hammering out shared values and aspirations  is a rich investment, though sadly not one that general developers’ profit motive respects.

Any one who comes to our next meeting, on February 21, will for sure receive up to date information on which to judge the affordability of our scheme in Woodside Grove.   The added bonus of a group of people who have already set out to build a sense of community where neighbours know each other, look out for each other and share some activities, is beyond any market value.   We are looking for people who care about how they live as they grow old in this day and age and want to contribute actively to Cohousing Woodside.

Cohousing Woodside visioning workshop

In August we organised a two day visioning workshop.  On one of the hottest weekends of the year it tested our commitment to the full.   Like most groups in their development phase our regular monthly meetings are pretty much filled up with business matters, as well as welcoming and informing new people seeking to know if our cohousing scheme is right for them. There’s never enough time to chill and talk.

We organised the workshop as an opportunity to break out of the routine, meet each other in a different way and get talking.

With an external facilitator, we started off by building up a picture of what we are seeking to realise through Cohousing Woodside,  what could help us achieve it and what could stop us getting there.  We were invited to close our eyes and visualise what we want to see in place in 4 years’ time.  What sort of group would we like it to be? What do we want from it? What do we want to give to it?   Common threads included a community with ‘a smile and say hello culture’, ‘more than just friendly neighbours’; ‘mutual support’; ‘shared activities’.   We want a community that relates to the surrounding area rather than keeps to itself, a group that is diverse, inclusive and fair in our dealings with people.

DSC_2226As we talked it became clear that we share a fair amount of excitement at the challenge ahead, at the thought of a new beginning in new surroundings and stimuli. We are looking for ‘a loose, friendly set-up’ where everyone plays whatever part they can offer, living sustainably and ethically and getting the right balance between privacy and communal life.   We want fun, parties and shared interests.

What worries us, besides the costs, which we don’t yet know, are the possibility of ‘too much group-think’ or ‘people joining us for the housing rather than our cohousing ethos’.   There was an awareness that focussing on inevitable anxieties may even be preventing us from enjoying the journey we are on together now.

Our next step has been our ‘Come dine with me’ initiative. This is where members organise get-togethers over a meal for a few of the group at a time, in their own homes or away, so that we get to know each other better.  Other roll-up-our-sleeves opportunities are small task-group meetings.  They are beginning to address various aspects of our future life, like car-sharing, or how we equip the Common House.

P1010029The workshop has helped us organise ourselves to make this inclusive, participative community work.   There is much to do. The developer is poised to start the marketing phase of what is now rebranded  ‘Woodside Square’ in Muswell Hill and we ourselves are poised to contribute an understanding of cohousing to the process.

Cohousing Woodside is actively seeking new members to come and join us. Our group-building process was given a shot in the arm through the workshop and we now feel we know each other better. It is an ongoing process, of course.  It must welcome and embrace new members as they arrive, catch them up and help them feel at home in the group.  It must also sustain itself into the reality of living together in Cohousing Woodside come spring 2017.