Croydon site extension

Croydon, NSW

Common Equity NSW provides and develops affordable housing across NSW and is the peak body for NSW housing co-operatives. It is renovating and extending an existing 5-bedroom cottage in Croydon into a ‘new generation boarding house’. At the time of writing, the property is under construction.

Categories: Small blocks; Co-living (and Cooperatives)

 

About the project

 

Common Equity NSW provides and develops affordable housing across NSW and is the peak body for NSW housing co-operatives. It is renovating and extending an existing 5-bedroom cottage in Croydon into a ‘new generation boarding house’. At the time of writing, the property is under construction.

 

The approved plans convert the existing house, which could previously have housed a single family, into a small-scale cooperative housing property with five or six dwellings, depending on the configuration. There will be four self-contained studio units on the ground floor, two of which are fully wheelchair accessible. Upstairs, there are two more bedrooms that could form a single self-contained tenancy, or two separate dwellings with a shared bathroom. The main entry is from the side to allow for modifications necessary to provide wheelchair access.

 

While not specifically designed for older people, the Croydon site extension is a great example of how existing middle-ring housing stock can be retrofitted to provide collaborative housing that meets the needs of older people and other generations.

 

The community

 

Common Equity NSW works collaboratively with 34 diverse co-operatives to deliver community housing under the co-operative model. The Croydon site extension property is a new addition to Common Equity’s portfolio.

 

In designing a site with significant levels of sharing, Common Equity NSW consulted with other co-operative residents who live collaboratively to a similar degree. The aim was to better understand needs when sharing a common property to this level. Common Equity NSW continued to collaborate with these residents throughout the design process, ensuring the final design was informed by a lived experience.

 

As construction nears completion, existing Co-operatives will be invited to complete a formal expression of interest to manage the property. The five dwellings will house new members of the Co-operative awarded management.  

 

The property is not specifically designed to house older people, but the accessibility means that older people could be readily accommodated in the final resident mix and/or continue to house current residents as they age.

 

Boarding houses have a poor reputation in the community, so Common Equity undertook significant engagement with the local community during the development application process to explain the co-operative housing model and the new generation of boarding houses. This contributed to a successful application process.

 

Project snapshot
What is shared?
How did it happen?
Legalities

Governance

The design incorporates a shared lounge, dining, kitchen, covered patio area and gardens. An existing carport will also be renovated to a standard that can be used for meetings and other purposes. The new design will provide opportunities for social interaction and engagement with other co-operative members while maintaining privacy. The residents will also share governance of the property through the co-operative.

Common Equity has generated surpluses over time from its operations, allowing it to directly purchase the 80-year old cottage and finance the build. It worked collaboratively with the co-operative and Prescott Architects on the final design. The development is in a heritage conservation zone, which means that the look and feel of the property from the street needed to be maintained. This resulted in a design where the front part of the house is intact but the rear part is knocked down and rebuilt.

Common Equity is a not-for-profit limited company which owns the property and will lease it to an established Cooperative to manage for affordable rental housing. The cooperative housing model offers security of tenure for residents with flexibility around level of income and a robust legal structure, with support available from Common Equity. The property was developed under the New Generation Boarding House provision in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009.

The intention is that the property will be governed by the Cooperative awarded management. Common Equity provides support with training and advice to assist with governance. Co-operative members are expected to attend at least monthly meetings and contribute to the management of the co-operative. They are also expected to volunteer several hours a week to administration, financial management and housing maintenance, and to fill official roles such as Chair and Secretary.

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