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Cannock Mill Cohousing is located in Colchester and site area is about 1 ha. This project is developed by retired professionals and they just want to create an eco-friendly community where they each can live independently in their own homes, but with shared facilities. In addition, this community has 23 homes, they originally wanted to create a community with “Passivhaus” standards to achieve exceptionally low running costs, and sustainable comfort and health.

Fig 1: Cannock Mill Cohousing

Connection: This site has a obvious vehicular entrance from the Old Heath Road and enough green space reduces the noise from the main road.

Facilities and services: Colchester is a town rich in history and culture and with good services.

Public transport: It is surrounded by beautiful countryside, with the added benefit of fast rail services to London (fastest 46 minutes). Cannock Mill is on several bus routes – 10 minutes into town and 20 minutes to the main station.

Meeting local housing requirements: Within this project, there are 23 new homes, a mixture of one and two bed flats and 17 houses with up to three bedrooms with garages. For meeting with the future development, these buildings are designed to achieve “Passivhaus” standards for very high-energy efficiency and low running cost. In addition, they are designed to “Lifetime Homes” standard too, for accessible and adaptable homes in the future.

Character: To achieve the standard of “Passivhaus”, this project was built in timber frame cassettes with recycled materials and then finished with “self-coloured” lime render in different natural mineral colors.

Working with the site and its context:  There is a clear hierarchy of street within the site that only one route to the site for vehicles and the gaps between units invites people enter to the semi-public space. Then all the buildings front to the street and back side faces to the communal garden.

Fig 2: Masterplan

Creating well defined streets and spaces: This project only provides one main route for vehicles with the private parking space at the end. the private and public parking space are obviously separated. Other routes for pedestrian can be easily defined by different materials and width.

Easy to find your way around:  All the routes in the site are obvious to identify.

Streets for all: Apart from the main road for vehicles, all the other routes between units are car-free and communal space for kids.

Car parking: A car-pooling scheme to encourage people to dispense with a private car, which will have the added benefit of reducing the need for unsightly parking on the site. The public parking area is at the entrance of the site and apart from the private parking space which can reduce cars from outside entering the site.

Public and private spaces: This project provides both indoor and outdoor public space. For example, the communal garden and river land are created to encourage the residence to enjoy the nature space. All the indoor public space is provided at the entrance of the site, such as the common house, mill house and shared & guest cycle storage. In terms of private space, each house has a private garden.

Fig 3: Common House

External storage and amenity space: There are several refuse stations for each units of houses. And shared and guest cycle storage is provided at the entrance of the site.


BFL – “Building For Life 12 – Third Edition”. Design Council. N.p., 2017. Web -18 may 2017 (2017). Cannock Mill Cohousing Colchester Ltd. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2017].

Figure Reference:

Fig 1: Cannock Mill Cohousing (2017). Cannock Mill Cohousing. [image] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2017].

Fig 2: Cannock Mill Cohousing (2017). Masterplan. [image] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2017].

Fig 3: Cannock Mill Cohousing (2017). Common House. [image] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2017].

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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