Springhill Co-Housing in Stroud, Gloucestershire, South West England, describes itself as he first new-build cohousing scheme to be completed in the UK. It comprises 35 households plus a Common House where people cook and eat together at least once a week. This substantial additional space makes it easy for people to have smaller private dwellings with a safe pedestrian street through the middle of the site.
Designed by Architype, specialists in timber frame houses, the project shows how a small, inconvenient sloping site can be transformed into a new community. Something in the overall attitude of the site minimises negative and enhances positive environmental and social impacts.
The project includes
- community composting
- high-intensity insulation
- PV panels
- a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS)
- a car-sharing scheme
The residents all became directors of the development company so were involved in commissioning the construction. Three out of the 35 units are subsidised in perpetuity at 15% below market value. The first residents moved in in 2003.
The high level of single parents at Springhill (nearly half the families with children) shows how co-housing responds to their need for safety, services and social interaction close to home. A third of the residents of Springhill work from home and the nature of the community means there is lots of business support sharing, offering a glimpse of a possible future for home-based enterprise integrated with more sustainable living. As UK households continue to change and shrink co-housing may be an answer more widely.
In January 2006, Springhill Co-Housing was one of four local projects recognised by the Deputy Prime Minister for making outstanding contributions to their communities.
More about Co-Housing Edit
Co-housing promotes a very strong sense of belonging and encourages friendly, co-operative and helpful behaviour, including self-policing. In Denmark 3-4% of the population live in co-housing.
Related topics Edit
- Springhill Cohousing website