Case Study

Love Wolverton


Love Wolverton is a regeneration scheme for the site of the Agora Centre and car park in the town centre of Wolverton, Milton Keynes. It comprises 115 dwellings, of which 86 are for market and affordable rent and 29 are within an over-50’s cohousing community called Still Green; plus 900m2 of small-scale retail space and 100m2 community space.

The project reinstates the former street grid lost under the Agora and provides new car-free streets, a pocket park and a sustainability mobility hub and incorporates a renewable energy microgrid. The project obtained planning permission in August 2021 and will commence construction in summer 2022.

The project, which was submitted for planning at the end of 2020 by TOWN working with architects Mikhail Riches and Mole and landscape architects URBED, was recognised in July with a prestigious Festival of Place / Design Council award for the UK’s best ‘future place’.

Key information

  • Client: TOWN/Milton Keynes Council
  • Developer: TOWN
  • Architects: Mikhail Riches Architects
  • Location: Wolverton
  • Engineers/consultants: JGC Engineering – MEP, Whitby Wood – structures/civils, Astute – Fire
  • Project type: New-build on brownfield site
  • Number of homes: 115, and 1,000m² of retail
  • Sector: Social housing 
  • Key dates: Expected start Summer 2022; completion Summer 2024

Key facts/highlights

  • 15 low-energy homes including 86 for market and affordable rent which will be owned by the Council, and a 29-home over-50s cohousing community for Still Green Cohousing
  • New small independent shops to grow and reinforce Wolverton’s high street offer
  • Extensive public realm, car-free streets, shared courtyard gardens and a public pocket park, providing new places for socialising and children’s play including the reinstatement of Radcliffe Street to reconnect Church Street and the Square
  • A low-carbon mobility hub including improved bus stop, bike-hire schemes and electric car club
  • A renewable energy ‘microgrid’ which will generate around two-thirds of the scheme’s energy needs on-site and contribute to a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with building regulations

Energy performance

  •  275 kWp PV array
  • 360 kWh battery
  • 99% of PV generated electricity used on site
  • CESCo-operated PV and battery microgrid providing 67% of annual energy requirements on site
  • 30% purchased at times of low cost/low carbon – improve financial returns
  • MVHR for all dwellings
  • ASHP for heating

Materials and construction

  • Cohousing block to be constructed from CLT
  • Fabric standards higher than Part L of the building regulations
  • Dense terraced layout for high form factor
  • 98% of dwellings are dual or triple aspect 

EV charging

There will be both an EV car club and bike hire schemes. 

Access to green space and amenities

As well as the extensive public realm and pocket park  created within the scheme, this new city centre development is surrounded by amenities including shops, restaurants etc. The location also offers fantastic transport links and is less than 10 minutes walk from Wolverton train station.

Western road recreation ground is a short walk away with the beautiful Ouse Valley park within easy reach.


Neil Murphy, Director, Town

“Planning permission is a vital milestone in any project. Here, it’s the culmination of years of co-operative work between council officers and elected members, our team and above all the Wolverton community who have campaigned tirelessly to have the Agora replaced by a development worthy of the town. Reconciling the constraints of the site with demanding policy and community expectations of design, conservation, sustainability and affordability was a huge challenge but with planning achieved and the Council’s investment in place we’re looking forward to working with partners to make it reality”


Case study kindly funded by MCS Charitable Foundation


Delivering Healthy Homes: Tutorial 3 Placemaking

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Guide to sustainable development in community led housing

This guidance, authored by architect Jon Broome for Community Led Homes, summarises the benefits of sustainability in community led housing and provides tips and tricks on getting support for sustainability matters at each stage of your project.

Author: Community Led Homes

Publication date: November 2019


Further information:

Case Study

Marmalade Lane

Cambridge City Council, as landowner, wanted to see the site developed for cohousing in an innovative way, and as a new model for home ownership; it will be the city’s first cohousing community. Marmalade Lane incorporates private homes, extensive shared gardens and a ‘common house’ with a children’s playroom, guest bedrooms, laundry facilities and a large hall and kitchen for communal events. A large shared garden, with space for food growing, play and relaxation is at the heart of the development.

Designed following fabric-first principles and built using the Trivselhus closed timber panel construction, the modular dwelling types will be built close to Passivhaus standards. Homes will be energy efficient and require minimal heating; will include triple glazing and high levels of insulation; and will be run on renewable energy provided by air source heat pumps.

Dwelling types were designed to be flexibly located on different plots across the plan, and offered broad scope for customers to tailor their homes internally and externally, depending on the users’ needs, using the TOWN Custom Build approach.

The project has been christened Marmalade Lane after the new street that will run through it – a nod to historic links to the Chivers jam factory that was nearby.

Key information

  • Project name: Marmalade Lane
  • Location: Orchard Park, Cambridge
  • Project type: New Build
  • Sector: Residential
  • No. of dwellings: 42 homes
  • Key dates: December 2018 (Completion)

Project team

  • Architect: Mole Architects
  • Client: Cambridge Cohousing Ltd
  • Developer: TOWN and Trivselhus
  • Client advisor: Instinctively Green
  • Structural engineer: Elliott Wood
  • Civil engineer: Elliott Wood
  • M&E engineer: Hoare Lea
  • Quantity surveyor: Monaghans
  • Project management: Monaghans
  • Visualisations: Mole Architects, Darc Studio
  • Contractor: Coulson Group

More information:

Photo credits: David Butler


Creative Housing Design: Promoting sustainable living in cohousing community in the UK

Semi-structured interviews were carried out i) to understand residents’ thinking and behaviour change through living in the cohousing community, and ii) to establish the environmental and social sustainability in a cohousing setting.

The study found that the development procedure of cohousing highly differs from the mainstream housing design. The quality of the design can potentially influence the residents’ daily life.

The findings will benefit a range of groups. It will be an important reference for cohousing design standards. Also, it could potentially become the legitimate toolkit for cohousing groups.

Author: Jingjing Wang, Yiru Pan, Karim Hadjri, University of Sheffield

Publication date: June 2018



Alternative Forms of Housing and the Next London Plan

Author: UCL Department of Geography and Bartlett School of Planning – Arinola Akinyemi, Olga Di Gregorio, Jim Hudson, Francesca Leccis, Sara Özoǧul, Hannah Rich, Bengi Sullu

Publication date: December 2019