Zahra are a fully mutual housing co-op looking to build affordable homes suitable for multi-generational living. Several generations living together can bring many social benefits including help with childcare as well as health and wellbeing benefits for older relatives.
As private renters, they have found most rented properties on the market unsuitable for such larger families, and are also looking for stability and security of tenure.
Zahra attended several workshops held by Harrow Council, and registered the co-op to explore community led housing on small sites in the borough. The co-op intends to be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the homes.
How we’re helping
We have been working to clarify options and their implications and helping Zahra commission financial modelling and capacity studies on a small redundant garage site. We helped pull this together into a business plan clarifying governance. This was well received by the council, who gained cabinet approval for the principle of transferring a number of sites for CLH projects.
We supported Zahra in the selection of their professional team and have had pre-application meetings to help in refining the scheme with further detail. The designs produced by Civic introduce 4 homes respecting nearby trees and continuing the building line to create two small courtyards. A scheme improving parking for neighbouring residents, was recently submitted for planning permission.
We have also led conversations on finance and viability and the practicalities of RP status. We have devised an innovative low deposit Shared Ownership tenure, with a cap on maximum staircasing to ensure the homes remain affordable in perpetuity.