Annual General Meeting
Our AGM will be held on Sunday 23rd January at 7pm.
Update October 2021
Our last update, rather a long time ago in May this year, talked of one site in Oxford about which we were very optimistic. The long gap before this update tells you that we have been very busy, working alongside our Project Manager and other professionals (architects, planning consultant, archaeology consultants), to prepare a pre-planning application for the site. However, last week our Project Manager, having had a discussion with the company who are developing the site, gave us a very strong steer that we were not going to be considered for this site any more and that we would be better to save our money. Very reluctantly, we agreed. A lot of work has gone into this last effort and most of the money from our Homes England grant, received in early 2020, has now been spent.
Since May, we have met socially a few times outdoors and enjoyed getting to know one another better in person (as opposed to on Zoom)! Bi-monthly meetings for new people have been hosted and we have had a continuous trickle of interest. We are now 10 full members and 12 associate members. Some new members, who have joined in the past year or two, have been leading the creation of PR materials. To that end, filming of the members was done a few weeks ago and is now being edited.
All of us members are volunteers and some have put enormous amounts of time and energy into trying to make cohousing a reality in Oxford. We have been at it for 12 years and some of us feel that we are running out of hope. We will be holding a meeting of all members in the near future to talk about what next. We hope that newer members will pick up the baton from older ones and carry forward the commitment to achieving cohousing in Oxford.
Update May 2021
Since we last updated our news, events have been moving quickly! We mentioned two sites last time and, sadly, both of those seem now to be unlikely to progress, at least not in the near future. But we have approached the City Council about another two sites that we know they are planning to develop, asking them to consider a cohousing scheme on at least one of them. We are in negotiation now with them about one of these sites, which is causing us some excitement as there seems to be enthusiasm from the City Council to see if they can accommodate us. Of course we’ve been here before, all excited that at last we will get a cohousing scheme in Oxford, only to be disappointed. So we don’t know how many fingers to cross, but we remain hopeful. Unfortunately we are bound by confidentiality and unable to name any of these sites.
Our Core Group, consisting of 6 elected full members, continues to meet weekly. A sub-group of the Core Group has been established and is currently looking at different decision-making techniques, and testing these out on policy-making. We know that, when we finally get a scheme and start moving in, the community will need a wide range of different policies that members agree to, in order to function smoothly and democratically as a group. It’s quite challenging once you start to think about, for example, a pet policy, or a food policy (what to cook in the community kitchen), or a visitors’ policy, and so on!
We have 10 full members and 10 associate members. We are still aiming at a community of between 20 and 40 households, and therefore are still recruiting. Our next Open Meeting, online, will be on Saturday 22nd May at noon. If you are interested in finding out more about cohousing, please contact our Membership Secretary via the form on the ‘Contact’ page of this website.
As we welcome in the New Year with as much enthusiasm as we can manage, we are very hopeful that our cohousing project may start to become a reality during 2021. In the last update (and it’s worth reading the updates below as they give you good background to recent developments before you read this one) we talked about two sites that we had in view. We did our financial calculations and made an offer to the owner of the private site but they were not able to accept it, considering it too low. So we now have just one site which is owned by Oxford City Council. To date we have been asked to keep the location of this site confidential but all indications are that the City Council is very committed to including a cohousing scheme on this site as part of a much larger development. The first quarter of this year is being used by the City Council to undertake more studies which affect the site and local traffic. When they are completed, we will enter into negotiations with the Oxford City Housing Company, who will develop the site on behalf of the council, in order to put our agreement with them into legal terms. We know that these things take time – we have a lot of experience in waiting! But we do believe that, because of the commitment shown so far by the City and the Housing Company, by the end of this year we will have secured a site and be dealing with planning issues.
Meanwhile, we are still wanting to grow our group. We are currently a group of 9 full members and 10 associate members. We have been holding an Open Meeting every month to welcome new people interested in our project. The next one will be on 20th February. If you are interested in attending, please contact our Membership Secretary via this website, for more information about membership and to receive an invite to the meeting.
In October 2020 we will host a series of meetings for associate and full members only. Each meeting will focus on a specific topic such as ‘Finance’, ‘Legal’, or ‘Design’.
The meeting take place on Thursdays at 7.30pm on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th October
Exciting times have just got more exciting! We are now in discussion with the owners of both sites in Oxford about purchasing a lease and we may be getting very close to the time when we can name these sites. That time may not quite have arrived by Saturday, but do come along to our Open Meeting then, at noon on Saturday 18th July, to find out more. We are welcoming members, associate members and new people interested in finding out about cohousing with a view to joining us. One of the sites will fit a cohousing scheme of 40 households, so we need many more members to commit to this site. We will send the Zoom invitation on Friday, so it doesn’t get lost in your inbox! See you there!
Update 13th June 2020
We’re sorry it’s been so long since the last update but things are moving fast and it’s now becoming important that anyone interested in joining a cohousing scheme in Oxford gets in touch with us.
To facilitate that, we are organising an Open Meeting, by Zoom, for Saturday 20th June at 12pm. Please get in touch if you want to join the meeting. We will send the Zoom invitation on the day before the meeting to all those who have expressed interest and given us their email address.
Our project team (see the last update below for who they are) have been working closely with us, the Cohousing Core Group, to make progress on two sites. Two pre-planning applications were submitted in April, and two meetings have been held with city planners to discuss these applications. The Cohousing Group has received the written reports of these meetings and held debriefing meetings with our architects (Transition by Design). Our financial expert is crunching numbers to determine whether the sites are viable for us, and whether we can start talking to the site owners. Discussing with our project team about numbers and styles of houses, and what materials to use, and bike parks, and bin stores, is all very exciting and makes us feel as though finally our project is going to happen. It is still a long journey but becoming a member at this stage is important, as we want to get to know our fellow cohousers and develop our community well before we move in. So, we are hoping to hear from people wanting to become members or associate members. Please get in touch and join the virtual meeting on 20th June.
What is Oxford CoHousing?
Oxford CoHousing is a group of people who wish to build/live in an ‘intentional community’, within the ring-road. We hope to build a community of mixed dwellings and tenures, of between 20-40 units, for any age or stage of life, with shared facilities to encourage neighbourliness and mutual support (What is CoHousing).
The group was founded 10 years ago and consists of a core group – which is responsible for the day to day running of the organisation, and members and associate members.
We are a member of the UK Cohousing Network.
Our next meeting23rd Jan 2022, 7pm, AGM