Cohousing can make a considerable and valuable contribution to local planning objectives.
The Neighbourhood Planning process empowers local residents to decide where and what type of housing is required in a defined local are (in accordance with local needs and market demands). It is encouraging that many developing cohousing groups are taking part in Neighbourhood Planning exercises to help shape the future of housing delivery, as a model of self help community resilience that draws less on a wide range of services and energy requirements.
New build cohousing communities build to very high sustainability standards. Typically, the number of cars is much lower than average. Often, they offer integrated workspace. The communities themselves will have common facilities which can be made available to the wider community; socially the energy which a cohousing community brings to its host community is considerable.
Cohousing communities are a far cry from gated communities. They are open and welcoming. They have a strong sense of connection with their host community. They bring wider benefits through a focus on sustainable living, mutual support and inclusion.
- Living Greener, Cheaper, Friendlier: The Policy Case for Eco-clusters and Cohousing
- The Cohousing Approach to 'Lifetime Neighbourhoods' Housing LIN
Involvement in cohousing projects has significant advantages for developers.
- Increasingly developing groups are interested in forming delivery partnerships. For the developer a cohousing project brings
- Early entry into a new sector with strong growth potential, able to achieve a price premium with buyers.
- Developments are effectively pre-sold to prospective residents, reducing sales risk and finance and marketing costs.
- Favourable response and better site approvals from progressive local authorities, e.g.'Higher density because less parking spaces are needed'.
- High social capital between residents reduces long term management costs (espcially relevant for affordable housing providers)
- Prestige and media coverage benefit the developer's overall standing.
- Supportive response is likely from the surrounding community because they can benefit from the facilities and services cohousing provides.
- Better financial terms for social housing provision, because the Homes and Communities Agency is very keen to enable mixed-tenure cohousing.
- Involvement with cohousing positions a developer at the leading edge of sustainable development, since this is one of the few forms of housing provision with clear benefits for ‘lifestyle' energy consumption as well as in-home direct energy.