Gear Change for LoCo

After a long and fraught process we finally completed on our purchase of Cannock Mill Colchester in July. Since then there has been a huge change of pace. Our architect, Anne Thorne (and I mean ‘our’ – she is part of the group) has been busy preparing the detailed plans for submission to the planners. We have had two ‘meet the neighbours’ events to outline these plans to the residents of nearby streets and hear their views. These were overwhelmingly positive – we liked our neighbours and, we think, they liked us!  The design for the 23 houses and flats are to Passivhaus and lifetime home standards. I got rather excited when I realised that the estimated heating cost of all six flats together FOR A YEAR was less than my energy bill for our London house every month.

Explaining to the planners that we really don’t need two parking spaces per unit has been tricky – but that has forced us to make some interesting choices. If our leases say that we can only have one car per home and our house has a garage, then our garage is our parking spot – no leaving the car in the road.  But the garages are huge, they are part of the passivhaus shell and have glass doors. To me, it is the perfect studio for ceramics and my other artistic endeavours. . Do I house my car in this unexpected luxury or get rid of it, join the car pool and have my studio? Cohousing confronts you with these choices and nearly always nudges you toward the eco friendly answer.

Cohousing has been a great experience. The group who have got us this far are a really interesting team who I know will see it through. The newer would-be members (we have an extended recruitment process) seem equally distinctive and each one brings something new.  We have decided to make the UK Cohousing Network our major avenue for recruitment  – so if you are interested, or know someone who might be, please check out our website at , subscribe to our newsletter ,and get in touch while we still have places.

Phil McGeevor, LoCo member

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