Lancaster Cohousing's new site project is under construction at Forge Bank and will be an intergenerational cohousing community, consisting of 41 ecohomes, communal buildings and Halton Mill. The project is planned as a cutting edge example of sustainable design, for both living and work with close links to the local communities. Project member Dawn Keyse told Virtual-Lancaster; "Our community will be built on trust, respect, friendship and understanding rather than rules and regulations."
What is Cohousing?
Lancaster Cohousing is a housing development that aims to balance the advantages of private homes with the benefits of shared facilities and connections with your neighbours. Designed to encourage both social contact and individual space, the project is organised, planned and managed by the residents. The houses are being built to PassivHaus standards, making them highly energy-efficient. They contain all the features of conventional homes and, like many other successful models of community living, are clustered around a common house with shared facilities such as a dining room, play areas, guest rooms, workshops and laundry.
Virtual Lancaster asked some of the questions that we'd been wondering about:
Q. What happens if you have to / want to leave the project?
A. You sell your own individual housing unit. Ideally the purchasers would be in line with the cohousing philosphy
Q. Can you sell your share? Mortgage it?
A. Your share is your house, so it's the same answer. Mortgaging is straightforward as any other mortgage. We have 2 ethical building societies who are very keen on our project and keen to be approached with regard to lending.
Q. How do you take your money out?
A. Sell your house
Q. If a member dies, can their share / space be bequeathed / inherited?
A. Not such a straightforward answer. Mainly yes. Although the person who is going to live in the house would ideally be inline with the cohousing principles. We have clear policies on all of these things so a prospective member will have these sort of conversations with one of the directors.
There are pages on the Lancaster Cohousing website about 'How to Join' and 'How to Leave'.
Find out more
To find out more visit the website at http://www.lancastercohousing.org.uk/ or ring Dawn Keyse on 07515 426670. The blog gives the latest updates on the build, which is scheduled to be fully completed by the end of 2012 with workspaces available in the Mill by early 2013. The project currently has a few houses left to sell at the time of posting.