About The Drive
What's It All About?
Really? Yes. Even in London. Just about.
It sounds difficult! It is, but your solicitor's the one who'll suffer. Ours certainly did.
What have you done, exactly? We've formed a not for profit co-operative to buy a large house in Walthamstow, and we're all renting it from the co-op together.
Hang on, why? It's much friendlier, much more flexible, cheaper, and it's much, much more efficient to live together.
So it's just like a flatshare? Up to a point! We get to be our own landlord, but none of us is trapped here.
But you all have a bedroom each, and there's a lounge, and it's exactly the same. Buying our house has got us rather more! Rooms for a library, a lounge, two kitchens, a conservatory, and a large garden too.
Sounds nice. So nice it'll never happen again. Nonsense. We were lucky, but things come up all the time. Even houses this size - there's space for ten of us here, plus guests.
That's a lot of people! It is. That's half the fun.
Ah, so it's like a commune. Not at all. We each get to choose what we put in. We don't have to put in anything but rent.
So you own, but you rent. That doesn't make sense. Au contraire. We own the thing that owns the house.
If you own it, why are you renting? None of us has put money into the co-operative. It's not that kind of co-op. Each of us pays a pound, owns a share. Someone's got to pay the mortgage, and so we rent.
But you're all landlords. We're not. The co-operative is.
You own the co-op. But any of us can leave, and anyone can join. This doesn't touch the co-op.
So the co-op makes the money? Ours doesn't.
But what if it did? If a developer offered you five times what you paid for it and you, the owners of the co-op, decide to sell. Then any money goes to other housing co-ops. There are plenty of them, and they'd all love donations! Or we buy a bigger building, and offer housing to more people.
A lot of work for no money at the end? Why bother? Because a home doesn't have to be about money.
A Potted History
The group that would go on to form The Drive Housing Co-operative Ltd initially met at a meeting in London to discuss the possibilities of co-housing in London during March of 2010.
It was quickly determined that with no initial capital co-housing was not feasible.
From the initial meetings at Candid Café, it was decided to go for a consensus decision making process.
As discussions progressed it was agreed that the house should be run as an intentional community. With three members of the group involved in Permaculture design, it was found having a house committed to sustainability and guided by Permaculture Principles would be sufficient to give something to rally round as a group.
In October 2010, a house of sufficient size in Walthamstow was found on a property search. It was 8 The Drive, previously a respite care home for disabled children that had been occupied by Property Guardians.
The Charitable Trust that owned the property had been trying to sell it for some time with no success. Initially, the Charitable Trust did not want to negotiate with a group of people intending to form a co-operative, but after enquiries were made of another property on the Estate Agents’ books, the group went ahead and registered as “The Drive Housing Co-operative Ltd”, and the rest, as they say, is history!