How Larkrise came to be…
“Larkrise Co-housing is an intentional community nurturing collaborative living; creating positive change for people and planet”
This is a project of vision and resilience. First conceived of some 12 years ago Larkrise has been steadily brought in to realisation by the continued work of its members.
What is Larkrise?
Larkrise is an exciting, ground-breaking blue sky project in the green surrounds of Hereford. Pioneering and innovating in providing affordable and sustainable community living.
It’s a community lead co-housing development. Operating co-operatively with a non-hierarchical structure. Decisions and innovations are made using the advice process and consensus. The aim is to answer to some of the housing concerns of our day; affordability, sustainability, and social inclusion. To find and provide a way of living that is beneficial for people and planet.
At Larkrise we are offering 20 dwellings in the Herefordshire village of Much Birch, just off Tump lane. It is an intentional community that is accessible to people from all backgrounds. The project aspires to be a multi-generational, socially diverse community.
A community created through conscious collaboration focussed on caring for people and stewarding the land. The site will include a common house, private and communal gardens and vegetable growing. Also work spaces, play spaces and special places for quiet reflection in nature.
What is Co-housing?
Co-housing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, guest bedrooms and recreational spaces. Other shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Residents also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.
Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbours collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically housing association or housing cooperative.
Community activities can include regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Residents gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Co-housing makes it easy to form clubs, organise child and elder care, and car-share.
Co-housing facilitates interaction among residents and thereby provides social, practical, economic, and environmental benefits.
What does community-led mean?
The idea behind community-led development is that residents and local areas are put in the driving seat of development in their area. These developments offer many benefits to the local are and its residents. Designs and plans can be responsive to and geared towards meeting the specific needs of a location and its residents. This idea was proposed by the government to support growth and provide measures to better manage the “housing crisis”.
Why do we need a development like Larkrise?
Here in the UK there are many reasons for a community led co-housing development. One being that property prices continue to sky rocket and many people are finding it impossible to house themselves comfortably within their financial means. Indeed this trend is set to continue. It is forecast that a millenial’s prospects for owning their own home are slim to none. Larkrise Co-housing is setting itself up to be a mutual homes ownership society. This is a new and excting way for people to access to secure, affordable housing that they also build equity in. One aim for Larkrise is to hold its properties in perpetuity to maintain affordability for generations to come. Larkrise values being able to offer affordable housing for all regardless of age, ethinicity or social status.
We need more developments like Larkrise because over the last 50 years or so our culture has seen a dramatic decrease in community led living. Despite the advance of technology now providing us with a multitude of way to connect with others it is said that loneliness is the greatest malaise of the modern human. Children and elderly are marginalised. Working age are put under massive pressure to work in-humane hours to provide for a largely unaffordable status quo lifestyle. The stress is overwhelming and many cannot enjoy their apparently perfect lives. Co-housing is not a new concept but a reminder for us to return to living closer to our ancestral map. Human beings need social support, understanding and a sense of belonging to survive. At Larkrise our governance operates by consensus, we want to ensure that everyone in the community and the wider members have a voice and value finding common ground within our differences.
The UK is experiencing a housing crisis. With many large developments being created by big house builders. These sites are often designed to maximise profit for the developer and do not often take in to account the needs of the wider community and indeed the people that will be living there. Being a community-led development puts Larkrise and its wider community in the unique position of being able to collaborate to create new housing that meets the needs of the community within and around it.
How long will it take?
The project is in the post planning pre-development phase. Full planning permission has been granted. The technical teams are working on our construction details. Our headquarters are solidifying governance and funding. We hope to break ground in 2022. The build is planned to be carried over 2 contracted housebuilding phases and the community house self self build.