Chorlton CLT has from the outset adopted the idea of cohousing as being integral to its vision for Ryebank Fields. The proposition of having a cohousing development, at Ryebank Fields in particular, underlines and supports other elements of the CLT’s vision including creating an age-friendly community, zero carbon living, and sustainable travel.
Cohousing is a term used to describe intentional communities created and run by their residents. Residents have self-contained private homes as well as shared community space. Cohousing creates a neighbourly, mutually supportive environment with access to open shared garden space.
The Ryebank Fields Development Framework states:
To deliver the outcomes envisaged within this Framework, the University will require a development partner to work with a local community housing group to develop part, or all of the site. This local community housing group must be appropriately and legally constituted.
This paragraph supports the intention of the CLT to work with a cohousing group or groups for the delivery of a cohousing scheme. It also leaves the option open for other CLT-supported initiatives on the site.
People interested in cohousing on Ryebank Fields have joined the CLT recognising that it will support a development on the site, should the site continue to progress towards a planning application. Cohousing is one of the CLT’s asks from prospective developers as reflected in its Expectations and Aspirations document on its website. The original relationship with the CLT was with the Chorlton Cohousing Group set up several years ago to seek to develop cohousing for people aged over 50. Since then, the Manchester Cohousing (Mancoho), an intergenerational group, have been working with the Chorlton group to develop a joint proposal for cohousing at Ryebank Fields.
The CLT Board recognise that, whilst it supports the development of cohousing, the groups have a separate legal status and autonomy. Where there is an overlap of interests between members, these are declared on CLT’s register of interests. Any potential conflict of interest is actively managed at the CLT Board meetings including agreeing how the CLT is represented at external meetings.
The current relationship between the CLT and the two cohousing groups interested in the site can be characterised as supportive and enabling. This includes facilitating introductions with developers and exploring any potential partnership arrangements with the CLT. Should the CLT Board decide to enter in to a formal arrangement with a cohousing organisation this would be set out, following advice, in an appropriate formal agreement.
Published April 2021