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Task Force promotes community-led housing with awards of free advice

Following a call for applications earlier in the year, the Right to Build Task Force has awarded five organisations free help in the form of tailored expert advice.

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Get inspired by Netherland's Custom and Self-build homes

The Netherlands has been leading the way in innovation for Custom and Self-build homes, so get inspired by some of the various routes it uses to give people a tailor-made home.&....

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RUSS training day: From proposal to Planning

RUSS is running a one-day workshop for community-led groups, the second module in its education programme. 

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Could your grand design be built in a flying factory?

A flying factory is way of building a Self- or Custom Build home with all the benefits offered by building in a precision-factory environment, but on site.

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Community groups should take up learnings from free Right to Build Expos

The Right to Build Task Force has announced four more Expos fo....

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Case Studies

Bath Street Collective Custom Build

Bath Street Collective Custom Build

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Planning for retirement with Potton

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Bakers Shaw

Bakers Shaw mixed build-method Passivhaus

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Beattie Passive house

Manx passive home

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Contemporary Timber Frame Home

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Passivhaus Family Farmhouse

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Steel Farm

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Merlin Haven

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Timber Frame Home, Ventnor

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Aldcliffe Yard, Lancaster

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Walthamstow Social Rent Scheme

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Prefabricated Passivhaus bungalow

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Cookham Dean, Berkshire

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Harvest House

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Bickleigh Eco Village, Devon

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Stoke-on-Trent Serviced Building Plots

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Forevergreen House

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Housing People Building Communities

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Sülzer Freunde, Cologne

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Manor Farm, Kirton

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Straw-baling, Perthshire

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Findhorn

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Almere, Holland

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Hockerton

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Top tips

Utility Connections

Utility Connections Read more

Ecology Building Society provides mortgage finance at Cambridge Cohousing’s Marmalade Lane project

Cambridge Cohousing's Marmalade Lane Ethical lender the Ecology Building Society has teamed up with Cambridge Cohousing to offer mortgages to the future residents of Marmalade Lane, a 42-home community in the process of being built.

This is a vital element of any cohousing or community scheme, ensuring that the finance is in place necessary to allow the build to complete and the residents take possession. Mortgage finance is important on cohousing projects due to their unconventional nature, so it’s fantastic news that Ecology is supporting such a worthy alternative to mainstream housing supply. This is especially so, as there are now more than 220 cohousing and Community Land Trust groups across the UK.

Located in Orchard Park, north of Cambridge, Marmalade Lane is the vision of the residents, who are creating their tailor-made energy-efficient and low-impact custom build development.

Homes on the site range from one- to four-bedrooms, with Mole Architects designing the scheme, which is being delivered by specialist custom build enabler and developer TOWN, in partnership with Trivselhus, a Swedish timber-panel building company.

Effectively, the site is a collective custom build, meaning that the residents have worked together to source and buy the land, commission a design and then pay to have it built for them, rather than doing any of the work themselves as self-builders. The residents have worked to customise their homes to reflect their lives and budgets, choosing from a range of configurations for both the inside and out.

Sustainability has been a core motivating factor throughout the project, with triple glazing, air source heat pumps, high levels of insulation and air tightness, paired with mechanical ventilation and heat recovery to minimise bills and create comfortable living environments.

The Ecology Building Society has strong commitments to back projects that are green or improve the way people live, so cohousing projects with sustainable build systems and good energy management are strong contenders for it when it comes to mortgage lending. 

Community is also fundamental on all cohousing projects, and the multi-generational Marmalade Lane reflects this, with shared-facilities including a large communal garden, a common house for socialising and cooking, a laundry, play room and additional guest bedrooms. In addition, many of the homes are based around a communal, car-free street (shown) which acts as a hub for socialising. 

Jan Chadwick, a member of the cohousing group said, “We’re really pleased that the Ecology Building Society has recognised the environmental credentials of our build and the high quality of the homes built by our developer TOWN using the Trivselhus system. It’s not many lenders that are as forward thinking as Ecology!”

Jon Lee, Business Development Manager at Ecology Building Society explained, “We’re always keen to support projects that will enable low-impact sustainable lifestyles such as the K1 Cohousing development in Cambridge. We offer tailored mortgages that are aligned to the needs of individual borrowers, as well as lending on innovative energy efficient construction types and materials, such as the Trivselhus closed-timber panels being used at Marmalade Lane.”

Neil Murphy, Director, TOWN welcomed the move from Ecology,“Ecology Building Society is a great supporter of the emerging custom-build and community-led development sectors, and we’re delighted they’re involved in Marmalade Lane. Off-site sustainable construction methods, high standards of energy-efficiency and a people-friendly environment are integral to our approach and it’s great to have Ecology’s backing for this project.”

This is great news for other environmentally sound cohousing groups who may be researching finance options.

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