Radical Routes

Random Camel Housing Co-op

Random Camel Housing Co-op 23-27 Foundation St, Ipswich, IP41BQ
01473 213 575 / Hel 07582 731 084 randomcamelcoop@tutanota.com

Random Camel Housing Co-op of Ipswich, Suffolk, have bought 23-27 Foundation Street, Ipswich. We’re Ipswich’s first housing co-op. Our core aim is to house those who find it hard to access decent accomodation. It’s actually three terraced 2-up 2-down properties next to one another, two of which have been knocked through, one remaining as a self-contained entity. In all, it can house up to 9 tenants. We’re Ipswich’s first housing co-op. Our core aim is to house those who find it hard to access decent accomodation.

The house is versatile, spacious – big rooms and lots of storage spaces – rather worn in terms of decoration (flowery and geometric wallpapers and carpets of multiple generations!!), structurally sound and a prime opportunity for a group of people to create a base of community action and live as an intentional community. It’s the most appropriate building we’ve come across because the end house that stands alone would suit two or three people who wanted to be involved in the co-op but would need a little more privacy from the main area.

The family who sold it told us all about the history of the place – all seven siblings grew up there, their mother lived there for 75 years, until this January! The house has a calm, cheery, homey atmosphere, which we’d be proud to inherit.

There are three separate kitchens which is a godsend, because there can be vegan and veggie kitchens! Also three bathrooms.
It’s in the middle of town but standing in the rose and honeysuckle back gardens it feels like a secluded oasis. The other buildings on that street are offices which don’t generate traffic after 5pm and some almshouses for the elderly. There is no reason for anybody driving into town at night to use the road, its not a shortcut to anywhere. So no excessive noise.

Our aim is for the ‘Transition Terrace’. We want to live sustainably, in as low impact fashion as possible in an urban environment. We’d like to link up with the Energy Co-op that the Transition Town group is starting, which can mean them bulk buying solar panels and installing them on our roof so we use the electricity generated, but they sell the surplus back to the grid using the new Feed In Tariff scheme. We’d like to build a compost loo or modify the existing toilet facilities to be compost loo-able. The humongous 29ft by 7ft garage can be used for workshops, classes, training courses on the eco-renovations that we’ll do to the building as well as old skills like preserving and brewing.
The two cellars can be used as band practice spaces and there are enough drummers involved in the project to ensure they are well used! You can stand up fully in one of the cellars and they both have electricity.
A room within the house can be turned into a community resource centre and info hub, putting to good use all the experience we’ve had in voluntary projects in our town. This could be used as meeting space for local groups.
We’d like to demonstrate what can be done with a small urban garden to turn it into a permacultural food unit And recreational space!
And lastly, we’d like to paint beautiful murals describing co-operative projects on the garage door 🙂

Our town used to be known as ‘Red Ipswich’; prominent as a site of protest. By providing much needed meeting space and resources we seek to rejuvenate this culture of civilian resistance to unwanted and harmful development. We plan to respond and adapt to climate change, whose affect on this region will be massive.
We want to install professional sound-proofing in the property so local bands may hire space cheaply to practise their music..