Plans submitted for innovative Danish-style 'co-housing' scheme

Lucy Hall and Christine Way who are part of the group trying to get Norfolk's first co-housing commu

Lucy Hall and Christine Way who are part of the group trying to get Norfolk's first co-housing community built on Sussex Street, Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Plans for an innovative Danish-style housing scheme seven years in the making have finally been submitted to City Hall.

In 2015, a group of people came together to purchase a derelict site on Sussex Street in Norwich, with lofty ambitions of creating the city's first ever co-housing site.

An initiative believed to have originated in Denmark in the 1960s, co-housing sees communities build a neighbourhood from scratch with an ethos of sharing and cooperation - with private properties complemented by communal areas and a spirit of sharing. 

In total, 34 homes across three buildings are hoped to be delivered by the project, which has been called Angel Yard.

The Co-housing Group bought the vacant land on the corner of Sussex Street and Oak Street, to the north of the city centre, with planning permission already in place, but a series of complications have meant the scheme is yet to get off the ground.

Now fresh plans have been submitted to Norwich City Council, with three buildings built around a common courtyard garden.

The plans include:

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  • A four-storey Oak Street building, with a shared common house on the ground floor and 12 flats above
  • The Sussex Street building will have 16 flats over four floors
  • Chatham Street Terrace comprising of six two-storey plus attic space three-bedroom houses

The common house in the Oak Street building includes a common room, shared kitchen and laundry rooms and two multipurpose guest bedrooms.

Lucy Hall, one of the people behind the group, said the plans have been held up by issues including Covid but the group was excited to have it in.

"It's lovely that we have something we can show people," she said.

"We are really pleased but it's just one milestone on the way and there are still quite a few more to clear."

Ms Hall said issues around labour shortages, material costs and new government rules ensuring developments do not impact waterways in Norfolk, will need to be cleared.

She added that interest in the scheme had increased in recent months, with around 57 households enquiring to date. 

The scheme aims to create a community, brining people together into their own 'neighbourhood'.

Information about the scheme can be found at angelyard.org.uk/cohousing.