Residents put forward ideas of community housing in Oxford

thisisoxfordshire: An artist’s impression of the proposed development An artist’s impression of the proposed development

A GROUP of Oxfordshire residents has taken a step towards building the county’s first community housing development.

Oxford Cohousing worked with agency Transition by Design to create an artist’s impression of how the site will look and claims it could solve the housing crisis.

Each person will have their own home but there is a central house with shared eating and work space, plus a guest bedroom and laundry.

Car-free spaces for children to play in are dotted between eco-friendly buildings, designed to be warm and cheap to run.

Blocks of flats will include south-facing roof tops covered in solar panels to harness the sun’s power. Other ideas include polytunnels to grow vegetables and fruit, and chickens for eggs, while equipment such as lawnmowers, washing machines and cars will be shared.

There are similar cohousing developments in Dorset and Gloucestershire and the idea is popular in Scandinavian countries.

The group was set up four years ago. It wants to build between 20 and 40 houses on a one-and-a-half-acre site within the ring road but must raise £10m to buy land and build.

Many members say they will sell their own homes to put towards the cost.

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Grandmother and occupational psychologist Fran Ryan, of Oxford Cohousing, said: “It’s been a great exercise in starting to think through what we want to build.

“And we look forward to a time, hopefully later this year or early next, when we are doing the exercise for a real site.”

Comments (5)

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11:13pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

I wonder if they've noticed the site off Temple Road in Temple Cowley It's 1.31 Acres, so slightly smaller than what they're after - but at £1.5M, well within their £10M budget.

Alternatively there is the large abandoned site behind the Isis Care home on Cornwallis Road.

(With washing machines available from just £160, not sure if the romanticism of "The Steamie" offsets the nuisance of sharing a machine.)
I wonder if they've noticed the site off Temple Road in Temple Cowley It's 1.31 Acres, so slightly smaller than what they're after - but at £1.5M, well within their £10M budget. Alternatively there is the large abandoned site behind the Isis Care home on Cornwallis Road. (With washing machines available from just £160, not sure if the romanticism of "The Steamie" offsets the nuisance of sharing a machine.) Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

11:27pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

20 to 40 homes......can't really see that solving the housing crisis, and the idea of sharing tools, laundry facilities and cars.......that's not really realistic in the 21st century.
20 to 40 homes......can't really see that solving the housing crisis, and the idea of sharing tools, laundry facilities and cars.......that's not really realistic in the 21st century. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Fri 25 Apr 14

King Joke says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
20 to 40 homes......can't really see that solving the housing crisis, and the idea of sharing tools, laundry facilities and cars.......that's not really realistic in the 21st century.
Not realistic? Er... why?
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: 20 to 40 homes......can't really see that solving the housing crisis, and the idea of sharing tools, laundry facilities and cars.......that's not really realistic in the 21st century.[/p][/quote]Not realistic? Er... why? King Joke
  • Score: 1

4:28pm Fri 25 Apr 14

fran@peopleincharge.co.uk says...

Cohousing CAN help with the housing problems (no one is claiming it can SOLVE it). Here's how: first of all the homes are a bit smaller: there are guest rooms to be shared in common house so people tend to have less spare (ie empty) rooms. If houses are smaller they are also a bit cheaper. The common house with the 'spare' bedrooms is shared and this costs a bit more but not as much as an extra spare/empty bedroom.
Second if houses are smaller you also get higher density and this is good from a planning perspective as it reduces the need to spread out into green belt.
Third the development is usually led by the group itself who commission the design and build of the homes. This also keeps costs down.
Fourth Oxford Cohousing is trying to find ways to lock in any savings so that some or preferaby ALL of the homes remain affordable in perpetuity. In particular we will try to avoid social rented properties being sold: it's nice to buy your own house but isn't it better to keep a stock of homes for people on average incomes (who after all keep our economy and society going) to rent affordably? Once you sell a council house in Oxford the person who buys it gets all the savings and there is one less affordable home for future residents.
Cohousing CAN help with the housing problems (no one is claiming it can SOLVE it). Here's how: first of all the homes are a bit smaller: there are guest rooms to be shared in common house so people tend to have less spare (ie empty) rooms. If houses are smaller they are also a bit cheaper. The common house with the 'spare' bedrooms is shared and this costs a bit more but not as much as an extra spare/empty bedroom. Second if houses are smaller you also get higher density and this is good from a planning perspective as it reduces the need to spread out into green belt. Third the development is usually led by the group itself who commission the design and build of the homes. This also keeps costs down. Fourth Oxford Cohousing is trying to find ways to lock in any savings so that some or preferaby ALL of the homes remain affordable in perpetuity. In particular we will try to avoid social rented properties being sold: it's nice to buy your own house but isn't it better to keep a stock of homes for people on average incomes (who after all keep our economy and society going) to rent affordably? Once you sell a council house in Oxford the person who buys it gets all the savings and there is one less affordable home for future residents. fran@peopleincharge.co.uk
  • Score: 1

4:40pm Fri 25 Apr 14

King Joke says...

Sounds sensible to me.
Sounds sensible to me. King Joke
  • Score: 2

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