The site for our cohousing development is 1.66 hectares in size and lies on the south west side of Thorncliffe Lane on the outskirts of Blackshaw Moor village. The site and adjoining land are part of the former Blackshaw Moor Army Camp, then Polish Resettlement Camp, which originally comprised four camps in total.
The site was built and used for residential purposes from 1943 to 1964, first for the US Army and then for Polish ex-service men and their families resettled in Britain after the war. Subsequently the buildings on our site were used for other purposes including pig farm and storage uses.
The surviving buildings have local heritage value for contribution to the war effort, and their role in establishing the local Polish community. Leek Cohousing intends to retain and upgrade these buildings to a high eco-standard of construction.
The proposal is for a self-build sustainable cohousing development, involving the erection of five new eco-homes including three with live-work opportunities and for the conversion of four existing Camp buildings to provide a range of cohousing shared facilities in Buildings B and C, and two residential units in Buildings A and D (see site plan).
The development will be self-build and custom build, with residents actively participating in the design and construction of their homes. It will be designed to have a very low environmental impact, to preserve and enhance the physical and natural qualities of the local landscape, and to bring the existing heritage buildings on the site back into beneficial use.
Two of the existing buildings (B and C) will be converted to form shared cohousing facilities comprising a common house with meeting, dining, kitchen and storage facilities, laundry, food co-op pantry, shared workshop, craft studio, heritage exhibition space, and three bedrooms for visitors.
There will be five new build dwellings and two dwellings formed by converting and extending existing buildings A and D. The new build dwellings will be designed as primarily single storey, with first floor accommodation limited to some use of roof space in the dwellings located on the lower western part of the site. All five new build dwellings will be sited on or very close to ground previously occupied by Army Camp buildings. All will be located along the south and west part of the site to the rear of the existing buildings when viewed from Thorncliffe Lane, so will have minimal visual impact on the landscape.