Self-build residents will share 'common house'

An innovative self-build project in which families will share a ‘common house’ is on the brink of going ahead.

Organisers of the K1 scheme planned for the eastern end of Orchard Park in Cambridge say they are close to having enough participants to push forward and hope to submit a planning application soon.

In total around 40 homes will be built on the city council-owned site, to a design which will be drawn up by future residents with professional support.

In addition, there will be the common house, which will provide space for events such as dinner parties, a shared ‘stock’ of spare bedrooms, and communal facilities, such as a laundry room.

Other ideas for the common house include a gym, a workshop, and an art studio, plus a games room and a playroom.

Adam Broadway, the project manager, said he was “confident” the scheme could work.

The council has said it wants at least 18 families to have signed up before it give the project the green light, and so far 12 are confirmed - with another five looking positive following an open evening.

Mr Broadway said: “This is a really rare chance to be part of the process of designing a new community - you could usually only do that in Cambridge if you had a sack-load of money but this is a community which will do it together.

“People will get the benefits of living in a group that is pretty well-established right from the start, and to share things if they want.”

Future residents have already decided they want their street to be car-free, and their homes to meet the highest environmental standards.

They argue their homes will be comparatively affordable because buyers will not be paying for rarely-used spare rooms and will be sharing some facilities.

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