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Herefordshire - Mandorla Cohousing

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Background

In 2010 a small group of people in Herefordshire with strong ecological and social values got together to form a Cohousing group. 12 months was spent creating ideas for a project that would be sustainable, vibrant, and diverse. A vision statement was crafted and some new recruits were brought on board. Our desire has always been to create a beautiful place to live; to live in harmony with the natural systems that support our lives; and to protect and enhance the biodiversity of our local environment. We wanted our community to be accessible to people of all ages and from all financial circumstances. Other important aims are to enjoy ourselves, live meaningful lives; and where possible share our own experience and learn from and with others.

We soon realised that the challenges of ‘involving those of all financial circumstances’ would result in the lack of funds needed to buy and develop our own site. So shifting focus slightly we decided to purchase a portion of a radical new prototype eco-housing-development – BridgeCroft -  to be built by Archihaus, development arm of locally based award-winning passivhaus architectural practice, Architype  www.architype.co.uk
 Mandorla will purchase 21 properties and a common house from Archihaus.  These will be set within a two-acre area forming a self-contained part of the main 19 acre 150-house project. Mandorla’s 21 dwellings will include some available for affordable rent and some for sale. The whole project is very low density, and the site contains much lovely green space, including orchards, allotments, ponds and outdoor play areas or children and adults alike.
Planning permission for BridgeCroft was officially granted towards the end of 2013, and the final legal, financial, and administrative details are moving towards towards completion, with Archihaus expecting to start work on site within the next few months,  
We hope to be move into our homes some time in 2017 / 2018, are currently recruiting and are especially keen for families to join us.
Our site
The Bridge Croft project will be in the village of Kingstone, a village with both a primary school and an Academy with a very good local reputation, a GP surgery, a thriving church community and  an hourly bus service to ‘county town’ Hereford, seven miles to the east,  
Hereford, with its ancient cathedral (home to the Mappa Mundi and one of the country’s only chained libraries), is a lovely rural city, compact and friendly, surrounded in every direction by beautiful countryside, and with the River Wye running through its centre.  The county, with its five other small market towns,  is still the home of Herefordshire cattle and Bulmer’s cider apples, as well as a thriving local food, drink, and craft industry.
Hereford city is situated some 12 miles from the Welsh border, part of an area known locally as The Marches. The cities of Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester are all about one and a half hours’ drive away, whilst it takes about half an hour to drive to the renowned ‘town of books’, Hay-on-Wye, site of the internationally famous annual ‘Hay Literary Festival’ and its attendant  science, arts and philosophy festival ‘How the Light Gets In’.  Hereford itself hosts a long list of annual festivals and shows, including the Three Choirs Festival and the Three Counties Agricultural Show.
For those who are interested in alternative education, the BridgeCroft site is approximately 7 miles from the Hereford Steiner Academy   http://www.steineracademyhereford.eu ,  and about the same distance from the Michaelchurch Primary School, noted for its support of flexible education and outdoor learning  http://michaelchurchprimary.co.uk.  
There are also plans well afoot for a University for the county, which will be one of the first of its kind – referring to itself as offering a New Model of Technology and Engineering www.nmite.org.uk  

Other Matters of Interest
All the properties on the BridgeCroft site will be built to Passivhaus standard ( the most rigorous energy standard in Europe) as well as meeting Lifelong Homes, HQI and CABE ‘Building for Life’ standards.
The environment of low density housing will be further enhanced with generous green shared community spaces, winding lanes, ditches, native hedgerows, swales and wetlands.  There will be natural play areas, allotments and traditional orchards.
For further information and enquiries about Mandorla, and to learn a little about some of our members, please visit our website  https://mandorlacoho.wordpress.com

 

Stage: 
This is the main project planning stage: acquiring the site, gaining planning permission, finding funding and tendering with a contractor. This stage concludes with signing off funding and moving on-site to start the construction works.
Regular Events: 
Second Sunday of the month at The Friends Meeting House, Hereford. Contact us for details.

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