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Selby, North Yorkshire - ALIVE 50+

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(Affordable, low impact, vibrant environment)

  • Want to live in the peace and quiet of the countryside, but can’t afford the ludicrously high property prices?
  • Want to be able to look forward to retirement, rather than dread it?
  • Want to be rid of relentlessly-rising utility bills?
  • Want to be self-sufficient – enjoy home-grown produce, confident that it’s free from chemicals, antibiotics and growth promoters?
  • Want to live in an environment where everyone looks out for one another – willing to muck in and give a helping hand when you need it?
  • Are you rattling around in a house that’s too big now the family has grown? Want to live in a comfortable, light, airy, draught-free dwelling, easy to look after with all mod cons, making the best use of space but without unnecessary extra rooms?

So do we – come and join us! Read on…..

It is our ambition to create an affordable, low impact, inclusive, stimulating environment for over 50s with the objective of being self-sufficient in both energy and food. We envisage around 6-10 single storey dwellings, plus shared facilities to include a laundry, a communal kitchen and dining room, a multifunctional space which could be used for meetings, social events, exercise/evening classes and/or demonstrations. Other facilities may include: workshop(s) for crafts/homeworkers, depending on demand; additional accommodation for visitors; tool pool; farm shop selling excess produce – if sufficient demand exists, look into the possibility of setting up a food co-op/buying group/community-owned shop).

The plan is to take the oldest part of our existing 2.5 acre commercial greenhouse down, retaining enough glass to grow food for the community. PVs will be installed on the roof of the greenhouse (which faces south) enabling the community to generate electricity and sell back surplus energy to the grid via feed-in tariffs.  It is important that Lifetime living features are included in the design of the dwellings, but equally important that they are stylish and uplifting to live in and easy to maintain.

We’ve honed our ideas for the dwellings over time, utilising new technologies/innovations as they’ve evolved…. Here are a few of the features we would like to incorporate:

  • High levels of insulation and airtightness – PassivHaus standard
  • Photovoltaics to generate electricity
  • MVHR (heat recovery system)
  • Pocket cassette sliding doors, to maximise space utilisation
  • Low voltage LED lighting
  • Built-in vacuum cleaner
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Use of eco-friendly natural materials, fixtures and fittings wherever possible

Background info

We have a rural smallholding near Selby, Yorkshire, which we would like to share with other like-minded people who would love the chance to live in the countryside, but are unable to afford it. We have become interested in cohousing which, although popular in Europe and the United States, has been slow to take off in this country. However, over the past two years interest has steadily picked up and now several high-profile schemes have won planning permission and are forging ahead. These are, in the main, mixed communities with lots of families involved; however, we are proposing a Senior Cohousing group, for ages 50 and upwards, of which there are one or two forming groups countrywide but none that are up-and-running. This is not to say that if there are people in their mid-to-late forties we would turn them away; it’s the mindset that matters – having a strong sense of community and shared values, fostering mutual support and treating neighbours with respect – that is more important than age.

Most forming groups find the hardest part of the project is finding a suitable site – but we’ve already negotiated that hurdle! However, although it’s a lovely, peaceful setting there’s a lot of overgrown land and a lot of work to be done clearing it, then hard landscaping and putting in services, but many hands make light work!

The first step will be to establish a core group of future residents who can help build momentum and reach out to other prospective members. We will then need to decide what would be the best legal structure to adopt, and how we go about raising finance for start-up costs including drawing up plans, technical fees and other costs involved in obtaining planning permission. Most groups take a non refundable deposit from founder members for these costs and, as the project develops, those costs will be incorporated into the overall development costs and the monies paid treated as a contribution towards the cost of purchasing a dwelling.

So that’s enough from me – now we want to hear from you! Please respond, either by email ( on three blue dots to get full email address) or by phone (01405 862511) if you are interested in becoming a member, and we’ll take things from there. We look forward to hearing from you…

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