Stirchley Co-operative Development logo

Stirchley Co-operative Development

Developing and growing co-operation in Stirchley

About the Project

Stirchley Co-operative Development (SCD) is a group of local housing and worker co-operatives who are building an affordable and eco-friendly residential and retail premises in the heart of Stirchley. We will be developing land on Pershore Road to house three local businesses along with 45 apartments.

You can view the full planning application on the Birmingham Council planning portal at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/planning with the reference 2019/10502/PA. You can also just download the Design Statement document, which outlines our plans in plain English.

You can contact us by emailing info@stirchley.coop but please be aware that during the Coronavirus outbreak we are mainly focussed on keeping our businesses alive and serving the community as best we can, so replies may be delayed.

We also have a Twitter and other social accounts will be active soon.

We have prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any further enquiries please get in touch.

Where?

We are purchasing the derelict land on the corner of Hunts Road and Pershore Road to the right of the British Oak pub.

Who is involved?

SCD has been developed over the last decade by local workers co-operatives Birmingham Bike Foundry, Loaf Bakery & Cookery School and Artefact Projects along with local housing co-operatives, Federici and Gung Ho. We are working with Accord, a housing association with a track record of building cost-conscious ecological co-operative housing.

We are buying the land outright from Seven Capital and will not be part of their development around Hazelwell Lane.

While we are a co-op, we are not affiliated with “The Co-op” supermarket chain.

How will it be managed?

The building will be owned by SCD whose membership is comprised of and restricted to the residents and businesses occupying it.

The building will be run on Somerset Rules for Co-operative Societies with a constitution agreed to by all members. Regular meetings with votes fairly distributed will decide on issues as they arise.

Effectively, once the mortgage is paid, the building is owned and run by the tenants, for as long as they remain tenants.

Where’s the money coming from?

Roughly half of the building costs will come from Homes England, the government body that funds the development of affordable social housing. The other half will be a mortgage from an ethical bank or building society. Rents will cover the mortgage, maintenance and management costs.

What is “affordable” and how is that achieved?

Affordable Housing” is an official term for housing that meets certain criteria such as charging rents below market rates. We are registered with Homes England as a provider of affordable housing and will have to abide by these criteria.

In addition:

Can anyone live there?

There will be criteria for living at SCD, the main one being you must be in need of housing (ie, not be a home-owner) and agree to the mutually agreed rules of the co-operative. Within reason, we will prioritise people already living in the local area in need of decent affordable housing.

Anyone can apply to live in the housing provided by SCD and there will be an application process for any prospective tenants. Anyone who becomes a tenant also becomes a member of the co-operative and has democratic input (via voting) into the management of the building. There is an understanding that members should contribute a small amount of time to the overall running and management of the project.

As a registered provider of affordable housing we will be accepting applications from the Birmingham council waiting list.

We will be providing a number of wheelchair accessible flats and hope to take into consideration people with a variety of access needs. We will also be child and family friendly.

Community cohesion is important to us and we will encourage members new to the area to get involved in the many groups in Stirchley.

What businesses will be operating from the ground floor?

The ground floor of the building is being designed around the needs of the three founder workers co-ops, allowing for changes of occupancy over the 50 years of the building’s minimum lifespan.

All three will see their space and activities expanding significantly. In the event of a founder business leaving, future occupant businesses must be constituted as a workers co-operative.

SCD itself aims to establish a “centre of excellence” for co-operative businesses in the region, encouraging more workers co-operatives in Stirchley by offering advice and support. In the long term we are interested in undertaking further developments in the local area, particularly in housing.

How will this benefit Stirchley?

We see benefits coming in a range of ways.

What will it look like?

Our initial plans have been submitted to Birmingham City Council’s planning portal and can be viewed at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/planning with the reference 2019/10502/PA.

Please be aware that architectural renderings are simplified and do not show the details of the materials to be used.

Why aren’t you keeping the existing buildings?

Sadly the existing buildings on the corner of Hunts Road are not in a suitable condition to be adapted and will need to be demolished.

When?

We aim to start construction in 2020 and be open in 2022.