Cambridge's first cohousing project set to welcome residents in September
The K1 Marmalade Lane development on Orchard Park is close to completion
The land was designated for cohousing in 2008 and the common room and children’s indoor area in particular are almost finished.
When residents move into the 42 customised homes – two of which are affordable properties – they will have Swedish-style accommodation, which comes courtesy of developer TOWNhus, a consortium of TOWN, Trivselhus of Sweden and MOLE Architects in Cambridge, joined by local construction firm Coulson.
Neil Murphy, director of TOWN, said: “It shows the potential for community-led development to shape the Cambridge housing market for the better, and the fact that only a handful of houses remain available is testament to its burgeoning popularity.”
Created and run by their residents, cohousing developments are communities where people not only know their neighbours, but actively manage their neighbourhood alongside them.
The developments have communal areas and a shared garden and are built around a common desire for a sense of belonging.
The current membership at Marmalade Lane consists of eight families with 14 children under the age of eight, seven working singletons of various ages, 10 couples – some retired – and four single retirees. The community includes 11 nationalities.
Cambridge Cohousing Ltd will take over the freehold of the site when all the properties have been sold, with residents as directors of the company but owning the freehold of their houses and a 999-year leasehold on the apartments.
Soon-to-be-resident Miranda Garfoot said: “I’ve always been interested in the idea of community living, but I’d never heard of cohousing. When my kids were small I met another mum at a toddler group and she told me all about this – and thankfully she is going to be joining us as well.
“You get to live in your own house, but you still get to live in a community. That’s the main thing.”
Miranda’s two children, Sammy, 8, and Pippi, 6, are also excited about moving in. “Pippi’s known about it all of her life,” said Miranda. “She’s been waiting for this moment, and Sammy’s been waiting for it as well.”
There will be a children’s play area in the common living area, which also includes a large communal hall.
Jan Chadwick, director of Cambridge Cohousing Ltd, said: “We’re a work in progress as a community. We will have our challenges and we will have our successes and we’ll have our fallouts, like any community.
“What you’ve got to have is respect and patience and a desire to make it work – and I think everybody on board has that attitude.”
Agents Savills said: “Marmalade Lane is a unique development to Cambridge focusing on community. With a common house and communal gardens in addition to your own home, you’ll have the opportunity to grow in a community that cares.
“A good proportion of the homes have been designed for life, to fit around you and your family’s needs – no matter what, your home can be adapted to suit you.”
More by this authorAdrian Peel