A GROUP of older residents has been searching for three years to secure a suitable site to build a new eco-friendly cohousing community.

Called Horizon Cohousing Gloucestershire, the group has investigated almost 50 potential sites across the county, and it now has at least two strong opportunities that it wants to ‘unveil’ as part of its plan to recruit additional members.

Both the sites are in the Stroud area – one is in the centre of the town - the other is in one of the Five Valleys.

The scheme in the centre of Stroud would provide about 12 custom-designed eco-apartments - the site in one of the valleys is smaller and could accommodate around six apartments.

Stroud News and Journal:

The ‘unveiling’ of the two schemes will be explained at a meeting in the Stroud Subscription Rooms on Tuesday, February 21. 

The current members of the Horizon Cohousing group are all in their 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, and most of them are planning to ‘right size’ – move from existing homes that are really too big for them, into single level apartments that are much easier to live in, and cheaper to run in their later years.

The group wants to build to a very high energy efficiency standard, so that annual heating bills will be a fraction of what most people pay.

And they want the apartments to be built to a high standard, with lots of low maintenance features.

The group also want to make the most of the space that is available, so they’re planning to have a shared garden and to run an electric car-sharing scheme between them.

Stroud News and Journal:

There will also be a dedicated communal space in the complex – where the residents can meet, share the occasional meal and organise activities like keep fit classes or painting workshops.

“We want to build a scheme where the residents are more than just neighbours – a place where we all look out for each other,” says Stroud resident and Horizon member Philip Douch.

“The scheme will be designed for single people and couples without dependent children.

"We are a not-for-profit organisation, so we just need to cover our construction costs, and once the homes are built the service charges should be minimal.”

“Stroud has always been a bit of a trail-blazer when it comes to cohousing - the 34 home Springhill scheme was the first new cohousing project built in the UK, when it opened in 2006”, said Ted Stevens, another member of the group. “