William Eichler 22 June 2016

Councils should make it ‘simpler’ to establish cohousing communities, report says

Councils should make it ‘simpler’ to establish cohousing communities, report says  image

Local government should make more land available cheaply for groups who want to set up cohousing communities, a report launched in the House of Commons today says.

The report, authored by researchers working with the UK Cohousing Network, explained that cohousing could be more widely adopted if it were easier for groups to get planning, financial and development support.

People living in cohousing communities share facilities but retain their own private dwellings. The report described them as places with a ‘neighbourly, supportive lifestyle’.

While interest in this style of living is growing, the researchers discovered groups often have problems finding suitable land and then developing their plans.

The report urges local authorities to encourage cohousing by making more land available cheaply, particularly in urban areas, for such communities.

It also calls on social and private developers to ‘think inventively’ about how to integrate cohousing into mainstream housing developments.

According to the report’s findings there are 19 established cohousing communities in the UK in comparison to over 600 in Germany.

Dr Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia, an author of the report and researcher from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) said: ‘There are fantastic social, political, ecological benefits that make cohousing a real alternative to conventional housing for some people.

‘While each initiative will be unique, we should find ways to make it simpler for newly formed groups to get their plans off the ground without having to reinvent the wheel each time.’

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