April 2023

Another mostly quiet month, with a little action towards the end of the month.

Towards the end of the month we met up with Black Country Cohousing (BCCH), to share thoughts. Visions are similar, in that we both want to create inclusive groups. BCCH is particularly keen to cater to disabled people and folks in the LGBTQIA+ community (which we are also keen on). As a temporarily able bodied person (TAB) I found it really useful to have the conversation about how housing can be made more inclusive.

BCCH is keen to have all accommodation in bungalow-style homes. In practice the disabled community have found lifts to be less than reliable, with people being stuck in their homes or outside their homes for hours (or even days!) at a time. This will need to inform our vision, which is for all houses to be able to be kitted out to the highest standards of accessibility – but within a set of three-story buildings. (At least some units would be kitted out to the highest standards of accessibility right from the start, depending on the initial group of members.) With due respect to BCCH’s experience and vision, we would like to have accessible lifts to all floors, perhaps with stairlifts to supplement in case of emergency. This is because we think that City Councils are unlikely to support the low density implied by a bungalow development unless *all* residents have disabilities. We could be wrong!

A Dutch-based developer with UK offices, Steen Vlinder, has contacted us. They have a site in Kings Norton, sandwiched between the Rea, the Canal and the playing fields which they are eager to develop with an eco-minded cohousing group. We paid a visit to the site and were delighted by it. Discussions with representatives of Steen Vlinder will take place in early May.

Our long-awaited estimate for building with Ecococon straw panel technology came in. It’s a fairly bare estimate, for the panels alone, and we’ll need to look at it to see whether we now have enough information to get an overall estimate for the whole project if we were to proceed with Ecococon.

It feels like a number of things are suddenly coming together. It’ll be interesting to see what the next month brings.

Published by CoHoWM

Cohousing West Midlands is (surprise) a cohousing project for the West Midlands! Cohousing is where everyone has their own front door, but there's also a community house for weekly shared meals and activities, and other shared spaces. More than a Housing Association, and less than a co-op!

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