In 2014 LoCo cohousing (now Cannock Mill Cohousing) bought historic and grade II listed Cannock Mill in Old Heath, Colchester. The site already had planning permission to conserve the Mill and build 23 homes and the group were keen to build the first Passivhaus cohousing development in Essex.
Cohousing and intentional communities are growing in popularity in the UK and around the world as they offer people the chance to live in a social community with shared values. Cohousing schemes typically consist of private living units along with a common house and shared facilities for cooking, dining, meeting and playing. They can be intergenerational or cater to more specific age groups or demographic such as LGBT communities.
Cannock Mill is strongly focused on sustainability and by implementing low energy homes, water efficiency, solar power generation and integrated food growing methods they are aiming to achieve maximum eco-efficiency. Now nearing completion, the development has proved very popular with only two three-bedroom homes left to be sold.
With an increasingly ageing population and growing levels of social isolation Co-housing communities offer the chance for people to live in an environment with strengthened social ties where the process of getting older can be shared and enjoyed with like-minded people.
Currently the Government is backing 11 local authorities under the Vanguard self-build scheme which offers funding of up to £100,000 to support the new self-build developments. With more planning policy formation around self-build and appropriate weight given to self-build applications, schemes such as Cannock Mill can achieve real innovation in new residential developments that have an integrated community focus.
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