Four Seas

About

Four Seas – Climate Change Cohousing Community

This cohousing community being set up at Carthvean Farm in Cornwall is a project run by ordinary people so a group of us can live together and help and support each other. Four Seas is not going to make any profit and there are no shareholders. The aim is to produce happiness, not money. We are concerned about climate change damaging the world, so we aim to live quietly on our farm growing our own food and not being dependent on current infrastructure like supermarkets, at the same time building a quality, joyful lifestyle for ourselves and our visitors.

At Carthvean Farm, the farmhouse is our cohouse. There will be other community shared buildings here as well as the farmhouse. We are going to build a laundry room with shared washing machines, and a central kitchen and meditation room. (We value meditation and mindfulness, and follow the testimonies of truth, peace, equality and simplicity.) There is already a workshop and a hay barn (where we can hold singing and dancing evenings in the future), and we have 15 acres of land with lakes, woods and fields. There are two polytunnels where we shall be growing food as well as in the fields. We shall use the farmhouse as our “cosy corner” where anyone who lives here can sit and chat with friends, or play Scrabble round the fire, and there will be flats and tiny houses as private spaces.

Who owns the property? We all do! People who come here spend a few months getting to know the place and the other people here, then they can apply to become members. The members share ownership of the whole place jointly – it’s called mutual ownership. There are no people in charge and everyone has a say in decision-making. We all own everything.

Members who have capital can put money into the cohousing company in exchange for a private unit here. This is like “buying” a cottage or flat, but they don’t actually buy it: it’s an equity loan. The member gets the private unit and a share of all the land and communal buildings for the quoted price. This is a really good deal: the price is low compared to usual house prices. Cohousing is increasing in popularity, so when the member wants to move on, it is likely to be easy to find a new person to join and put their money in, so the first member can leave with all their money, plus a bit more if there has been an increase in value.

Members who have no capital can join the community and they don’t have to pay rent. They pay a share of the mortgage (a licence fee) instead of rent. We treat each other fairly and equally; there are no landlords or tenants. A person needs an income to pay the licence fee, which can be from a job, benefits, or by working on projects for the community. Over time they earn capital, just as people do if they own a house and pay for their own mortgage. They move towards holding the value (the equity) of their living space.

It will be relatively cheap to live here because at Carthvean Farm we have our own energy from a wind turbine and solar panels as well as heat from our own logs, our own water supply from a spring-fed well and a new borehole, and we shall grow lots of our own food. We shall also share vehicles and buy things in bulk to save money. We are 10 or 15 miles from the Atlantic coast of Cornwall, Mounts Bay to the south and the Lizard, so we look forward to seaside expeditions together, as well as visits to Truro, Falmouth and Penzance: vibrant and interesting places. We intend to run cohousing training courses, hold events and host camping holidays.

Anyone may apply to join Four Seas and be part of the community after they have spent some time trying the community out to see if they fit in. If they reach the point of wishing to invest a capital sum with the community, they will be asked to sign an agreement which has been approved by the Four Seas’ solicitor and which they may check with their own solicitor.

Four Seas at Carthvean Farm is an exciting project just starting up, which will provide lovely homes for about 12 lucky people. Homes will be available from about July or August 2023.

  • Group Status: Established
  • Location: South West
  • Website:
  • Email: jackie@fourseas.org.uk

Group Types

Eco, Intergenerational, Retrofit

Group Tenure

Mutual home-ownership