A Royal Town Sustainable Housing Model

A Royal Town Sustainable Housing Model 

The aim of this blog is to look at a viable proposal for sustainable housing to help revitalise the Town Centre. New housing would replace outdated shops and multi-storey car parks like the Red Rose Centre with residents living, working and shopping in the Town. The vision is to harness Sutton’s excellent facilities and public transport connectivity to build genuine long term sustainable multi-generational communities.

What would these communities look like? 

The idea is to consider combining two innovative models: firstly the Community Land Trust (CLT) model. CLT homes are a way of providing genuinely and permanently affordable new homes either for rent or low-cost ownership. They can be used to address the growing gap between people who qualify for social housing and people who can afford to buy their own home. Crucially they feature a resale price covenant when occupants buy, so that if they sell, they can only sell at a price linked to median incomes again, so the homes remain affordable for generations to come.

The other model would be Cohousing: Cohousing communities are created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, private home as well as shared community space /facilities. Residents come together to manage their community and share activities. Cohousing Development in Sutton would be primarily aimed at starters, perhaps with shared equity or shared ownership linked to the Cohousing Concept. But it might also be aimed at, say, seniors looking at a shared community means of living. In combination both the CLT and Cohousing models would consciously look at broadening wider demographic and multigenerational housing opportunities within the locality, both integral to the Centre development but also to other commercial and community housing in the Royal Town. At the outset this is a means to strengthen communities through broadened demographics and strengthened economic vitality.

How would the housing models fit together?

Both the CLT and Cohousing elements would be carefully and invisibly integrated within the model development. The buildings themselves would be highly sustainable in terms of energy use and carbon impacts: for example using the Passivhaus system of high insulation, and heat recovery. Green Elements such as generous balconies, roof gardens / allotments would help make the urban development distinctively green. And the cost of occupation would be low.

Integral to the development would be shared community facilities. Some would be for residents, such as crèches, communal ‘Great Hall’ spaces, laundry, sacred and/or community spaces etc, others would belong more widely to Royal Town Residents: a new ground floor Library, Town Council Offices, local archive / museum, public spaces and walkways, cycle sale and repair etc

How would this model be delivered and managed? 

A shared Community ethos is critical for success, and so a Community Development Trust (CDT) would be established to scope, design, develop, and oversee the estate management. The CDT would be partnership-based with reps from the Town Council, City Council and Community allied with Community Developer / Landlord, with ethical funding and financial oversight. Occupiers would collectively contribute and agree how the model is managed.

Examples of places where this has happened?


Our Case Study of Marmalade Lane Cohousing in Cambridge can be found at:



Our Case Study of Brasted Close CLT can be found at:


Case Study Summary

Rather than wholly relying on market delivery, this model is very much about communities taking control, with a broader mix of market and community-led development and a strong underlying ethos. The Town Council would initially be the visionary and enabler, later the more complex financing delivery and management would be owned by the CDT, occupiers and Royal Town Community.

Images from other relevant Eco Sutton Community Planning Case Studies:


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