Portaferry Cohousing submits planning application for the first resident-led housing development

Portaferry Cohousing has submitted a planning application for NI’s first cohousing project of 32 homes on the Cloughey Road. Residents design and own the entire development, where priority is placed on ‘designing in community’, rather than for developer profit.

A small group of individuals created a not-for-profit group called Portaferry Cohousing which has purchased 10 acres of land on the outskirts of Portaferry. The group has been working with an architect for a year to create plans for a housing development that demonstrates sustainable design and supports a rich community life. Building energy-efficient homes suitable for an intergenerational mix of households and incomes, designing in shared spaces including a common house, safe play areas, wildlife habitats and shared growing area. We hope it will act as a catalyst and inspiration for others.

The 32 houses range in size from 1 to 5 bedrooms and are detached and semi-detached, to cater for a range household sizes. Their living areas face directly south to maximise heating from the sun. All houses have their own kitchens, bathrooms and living areas, but residents also have access to a common house, designed for communal cooking and eating with a kitchen, playroom for children, laundry facilities, shared office space and two guest bedrooms. 

Parking is centralised, allowing the development to be pedestrianised. Some households will car share and electrical vehicle charging points will be available. The group has already planted 1,500 native trees along the boundaries, and there is an area for a shared food producing garden, complete with polytunnels. 

Portaferry Cohousing member Fay Ballard said “I was attracted to the project for its consensus decision making processes – it may take longer, but we know that everyone is supportive of it. Members bring their own skill sets, I work in international development, we have a renewable energy engineer, artist, boat builder and therapists. If the planning application is successful, we would hope to begin construction in 2024.”

The cohousing team are keen to attract new members, with houses for sale including self-build plots, and a small number that will be available for private rental. If anyone is interested in the project and would like more information, we are holding an online Zoom presentation Thurs 26th Jan 7-8pm, which will also include time for Questions and Answers on the planning application. More details can be found our website www.portaferrycohousing.org

Contact Andrew McMurray 0790 99 00 883 or Tyrone Currie 028 4272 9066 Email portaferrycohousing@gmail.com. Website www.portaferrycohousing.org

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