Self build cooperative

Currently I’m dreaming about a really big project. A huge project. A project that is too big for me really. I already have a big project on my hands with starting up Silverclear. But I can’t stop dreaming. This is my fantasy project…

There is a great big empty site near where I live which has been derelict for years. It is in an area where there is high housing demand for local people. The site contains a Victorian era industrial building. The outside walls are are absolutely gorgeous and could be restored. Otherwise it’s just a shell and some surrounding land. I am completely in love with this building and want to do something with it.

My idea is inspired by places like the Oxo Tower in London, and an episode of Grand Designs where a group of people built a cul-de-sac of homes for themselves while learning building trades so they could also get full time employment.

The idea is something like this. Design a range of homes that could be built into the existing building and next to it on the site, incorporating some family and some smaller homes. Design a communal garden with leisure space. Sign up local people who have roots in the area and who require a home for the long term. We form a cooperative. The members decide which trades they will provide and which homes they’ll live in when they are finished. The members are supported to learn their trades and gradually build the homes using their new trades. When the homes are finished, and the members are starting to move in, the community has already started to form because they have been working together.

I just need to work out how other groups like this have come together and how to fund it.


2 thoughts on “Self build cooperative

  1. It would be worth you looking at what was done in New Lanark – in the visitor centre they have a fascinating exhibition of “before and after” views showing the restoration work that was done in the 70s/early 80s to turn it from a derelict site into what is now a world heritage site with accommodation that is highly sought after. There are some contact details for the trust members here:
    and some info on the housing here:
    For the communal aspect – the only 2 I had heard of were at Findhorn
    and C.A.T in Wales
    but when I tried to google for the name of the Welsh one I came across this site which might be of interest to you:

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