Our mission is to demonstrate quality of life in a sustainable community

Our development plan has three strands:

Cosy homes

When we purchased Trelay 10 years ago, the old stone buildings were uninsulated and unheated. Over the years we have improved and extended the homes and we are continuing to do so. Most of this work has been done using private funds.

Our development plan for the next 5 years includes four significant cosy home projects as shown in the table on the next page.


During 2016 we invested £36,000 in a ground source heat pump project, funded by private loans.

Our development plan for the next 5 years includes extending good quality heating as well as the development of an animal centre and the build of a new sustainable sewage system.

There is the possibility that we may be able to develop more infrastructure projects using private money as well. For example, we are exploring the possibility of a small wind turbine and the development of a private wire system linked to battery storage; and a sustainable water system with a borehole and rainwater collection. We would like to demonstrate a pioneering wind fence.

Business development

Our company (SWESE (Trelay) Ltd) is a not-for-profit company which does not undertake business activities, but seeks to provide the facilities for members of the Trelay Cohousing Community to do so.

During 2016, a holiday cabin business was started by a company called Tamarisk Ltd, which is run by Trelay people. The first cabin was built in 2016, funded by a private loan. A second is under construction with 2 more planned.

Members are currently setting up two more businesses: a camping business and a farm shop business.

Our most ambitious plan is for a Cohousing Community and Conference Centre for which we received outline planning permission in September 2016.

We will not build this until we have raised sufficient money from grants and private gifts or loans.

More information about the projects in our development plan

Cosy homes

1. Penwarne extension – extra living space for the Cooper family. Applying for planning permission; if not will build smaller extension under permitted development. Private funds available. Build expected 2017 – 2018.

2. Chylosen extension – extra bedroom/ guest bedroom. Permitted development. Mortgage loan paid for from Roger’s pension. Build expected 2017 – 2018.

3. Loft conversion – living space for Kathy. Applying for planning permission and bat licence. Private funds available. Build expected 2017 – 2018.

4. Octagonal summerhouse – being built by Christine. Completion expected 2017 – 2018.


5. Animal centre – an important part of our farm infrastructure to allow small-scale farming of animals for meat and milk. Permitted development. Private funds available from Sally. Build expected 2017 – 2018.

6. Sustainable sewage system – an important part of our community infrastructure to allow us to deal with our increased sewage from expected visitors in a responsible way. Mortgage loan paid for from service charge.

7. Extended heating system – two extensions are planned: a pellet boiler system for three living spaces (using a mortgage loan paid for from service charge, build planned 2017) and an extension to our ground source heat pump system (fund-raising required to build this in the future).

8. Community garden – central community area for relaxation and play being developed in 2017 using money from a legacy from Helen Pinder, a Trelay member who died at Trelay.

9. Polytunnel B – a new facility to allow us to grow more food, including raising plants for the vegetable patch, and also plants for selling in the Farm Shop. Private funding available from Jackie.

10. Wind turbine – will soon be submitting a pre-application enquiry followed by a planning application and fund-raising. A private wire system will be included in this project and it will be linked to a battery storage system (13.) Private funding expected. Build in 2019 or 2020.

11. Wind fence – a novel system under development. We hope to be a pioneering site. Possible build in 2020.

12. Borehole, rainwater collection and water storage system. Later in the 5-year plan.

13. Battery storage, large enough so the Trelay Cohousing Community can be off-grid. Later in the 5-year plan.

14. Solar hot water + kitchen refurbishment – private funding available; work planned for 2018 – 2019.

Business development

15. Holiday cabins – this Trelay-related business has borrowed private money and will have a loan linked to our mortgage. The first cabin has been generating income since September 2016, and the second one is expected to welcome its first guests in September 2017. The 3rd and 4th are expected to be built in 2018 – 2019.

16. Camping business – the infrastructure has been developed using private funding. This new business was launched 1st August 2017.

17. Farm shop – planning permission has been granted. Build of shop has started, using private funding. Shop will open in 2018, selling Trelay fruit, veg, sausages, craft items and plants.

18. Conference centre – outline planning permission has been granted. Details currently being developed. Private money of £30,000 has been allocated to the first phase. Fund-raising phase including sufficient money to tarmac the central road. Build expected 2018 – 2021.

Looking to our Financial Future

Trelay Cohousing Community is run by a not-for-profit company called South West England Sustainable Enterprises (Trelay) Ltd (the Company), which owns Trelay Farm and the buildings and infrastructure. The Members of Trelay Cohousing Community purchase equity in their living spaces under the Trelay Mutual Home Ownership Scheme, but the Company takes responsibility for the mortgage on the property. Members pay an amount to the Company to cover any share of the mortgage they may have, and also a Service Charge to cover bills and other expenses. The Company can adjust the Service Charge up or down so that the Company covers its cost but does not make a profit and so pays no tax.

Looking to the future, the Company foresees no problems in being able to continue to meet its targets. We have 22 residents and spaces for 4 more adults after our building work is complete, who between them will be able to pay the mortgage costs and other costs between them into the foreseeable future.

Our profit and loss projections show little income from businesses, because they are being set up principally to support individuals to enable them to live here. As the businesses become established, more income to the community can be expected.

In future, additional sustainable businesses are expected to flourish, such as eco-weddings, conferences, and educational events promoting cohousing and local food and energy.

Capital income

The table above does not show the capital that may be put into the Company from time to time. Some Trelay Members and associates have private sources of capital and they may choose to contribute to projects in our development plan. We also have a fund-raising team that will seek capital contributions for projects that are for the public good.

Risk analysis

We have undertaken a risk analysis to consider the way forward if Members leave and if mortgage interest rates go up. If people leave, either their equity will be sold on to new people, or the Company will be able to rent out the empty houses to raise money to pay the mortgage and bills. If interest rates go up, our investment in infrastructure to reduce our costs will make us robust and our infrastructure to enable new businesses will increase our income.

The new projects planned which require capital will only be started after the capital has been raised.

We conclude that there is a low financial risk to our development plan.