We are a group of six mixed households living in a small ‘self-build’ cohousing project at Copper Lane in the Stoke Newington area of North London. You can find out more about the project, cohousing, our motivations and practical stuff in the FAQ.
Completed in 2014, the scheme contains six houses, between 70 and 165 sq. m., surrounding a raised central courtyard with a communal space beneath, housing a shared laundry, workshop and hall – plus shared gardens around the perimeter. The site and common parts are owned by the company as a freehold, individual houses are owned on 999 year leases, by leaseholders who are also ‘directors’ of the company. We meet once a month as a group to sort out collective business and we don’t – as someone leaving a comment in a Guardian piece about the project seemed to assume – have compulsory community meals every other day. We use consensus-based decision-making processes whenever possible. As we are a relatively small operation, we haven’t generated any ‘rules’ for what people living here can or can’t do. We tend to work things out as and when they come along. More information about cohousing is available on the UK Cohousing website.
This site was initially started to keep local residents informed about about the scheme, designed by Hackney-based architects Henley Halebrown and Rorrison. The original planning application can be viewed online here, number 2011/2679. The Design & Access statement is the best place to start for an overview of the scheme.
Our FAQ responds to the kinds of issues that local residents nearby raised with us during the long process of taking the project to completion. We don’t think of ourselves as cohousing evangelists – it’s certainly not something for everyone. But it can really work out if you are that way inclined. We think it’s hopefully more interesting as a way of living than simply a ‘lifestyle choice’, although maybe less than the environmental or housing crisis game-changer it’s sometimes made out to be. We’ve got lots of stories and have probably acquired plenty of knowledge and know-how that we aren’t quite aware that we have acquired, so if there’s something you think we might help or advise on, please get in touch: copperlanecohousing[at]gmail.com