The whole of the development is privately owned, although there are no fenced-off spaces. Rather, it is hoped that the design of the buildings with all areas being overlooked, and the nature of the community, will ensure that passive surveillance will be adequate at deterring crime and fostering a sense of belonging whilst not excluding others by physical barriers. The Lane and Common Ground are car-free, with car parking being relegated to the perimeter of the development; this is a fundamental desire of the co-housing community. The Lane is used for emergency vehicles and deliveries, so is a functional street. But it also has street trees, bicycle stores and planted areas to encourage its use as a play area, for gardening and socialising. Garden walls are low and double as benches. The Common Ground is faced by the rear gardens of the south terrace, as well as the terrace in front of the Common House. The site contained an ancient hedgerow with mature oak trees which sit in the centre of the space, and divide the land between an area directly in front of the Common House, and a grassed area beyond, which also functions as storm relief in times of flood. At the perimeter, adjacent to the busway, are allotments and utilitarian sheds for storage, and roadway for vehicular access.

Planning History

The site was in the ownership of Cambridge City Council, although lies within South Cambridgeshire District Council. The City Council with assistance from a central government grant facilitated the formation of a brief from the nascent cohousing community. The sale of the land was via a competition comprising a design and financial offer, with a view to developers working with the cohousing community and South Cambridgeshire planning authority to complete the final design. The competition was won by TOWN/ Mole in August 2015, and planning was submitted in October 2015 following pre-planning negotiations to discuss variations from the local plan to accommodate aspects of the client brief- notably the community’s desire to locate cars at the site perimeter. Planning was granted in December 2015.

Project Team

Architect: Mole Architects Ltd
Developer: TOWN

Development Data

Site size (ha): 0.87
Estimated date of completion: 25/04/2018
Schedule of accommodation: 9 x 1 Bed Apartments, 2 x 2 Bed Apartments, 13 x 2 Bed Town Houses, 7 x 3 Bed Town Houses, 10 x 4 Bed Town Houses, 1 x 5 Bed Town House
Tenure mix: 95% Private Sale Co-housing and 5% Affordable Sale Co-housing
Size of typical home: 76
Parking spaces: 52

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