Hanover enabled OWCH members’ choice of architects. The group made its choice from two or three firms against their own criteria and Pollard, Thomas, Edwards architects (PTEa) were appointed in 2010. There began an interesting time for the women as PTE involved them in scoping out the site and its locale and in designing the building. This more than anything, gave them a sense of ownership of what became ‘New Ground Cohousing’.

OWCH was represented throughout on the project group for the development, thus able to ensure the group’s needs and preferences were properly considered whilst also translating the project group’s professional imperatives back to OWCH members. This was something of a learning curve for all concerned - for OWCH to understand the technical language and conventions of the professionals and for those on the construction and development side to get to grips with the involvement of some very keen end-users. Although this degree of interaction has been unusual for a UK housing project, and challenging, it did not contribute to any delays in the development and construction process. We hope that, from our example, other housing developers will work in partnership with cohousing groups in a positive and creative way.

Planning Permission Achieved! Party Time!