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Work begins on building phase of joint Bridport Cohousing and BCHA development

People on a hill


BCHA is delighted to share Bridport Cohousing’s news that, following the commencement of infrastructure and site preparation in February 2020, work on the actual build of the much needed joint BCHA and Bridport Cohousing development for Bridport has now begun.

BCHA will own and co-manage the social rented homes along with 13 of the shared ownership homes, which have all been part funded through Homes England grant funding. This was awarded to Bridport Cohousing and BCHA through its Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016 to 2021.

Bridport Cohousing CLT will retain the freehold on all the land in order to ensure it is retained for local affordable housing in perpetuity. It will also develop the remaining 14 shared ownership homes.

A vision of a cohousing neighbourhood for Bridport was first created back in 2008 when Alan Heeks and some original members of Bridport Cohousing sat around a table with West Dorset officers, councillors and MP.

Little did they know that it would take this long, but that vision was to build a neighbourhood of affordable homes for local people, and the task of getting the necessary permissions and funding in place was monumental, because ‘’cohousing ‘’ is a little different from conventional housing development, which planners and funders are all used to dealing with.

Paul Derrien, Dorset Council’s Housing Enabling team leader, has grasped the concept of cohousing and its potential benefits to residents and the wider community, and has been very supportive over the years.

The contract to build the 53 affordable ecohomes was awarded to local builder CG Fry and they will be built to AECB Silver Standard (similar to Passivhaus) with a high level of energy efficiency.

Bridport Cohousing is a Community Land Trust. In order for the homes to remain affordable for future generations, those houses that are for sale are only available through shared ownership, and 20 percent of the equity of the house will always remain in the hands of the CLT.

People interested in living at Hazelmead first have to become members of the CLT, so that everyone will have an interest in protecting future affordability. Members will take collective decisions on how to organise the running of the neighbourhood once they have moved into their homes.

Bridport Cohousing is working in close partnership with BCHA who will be building those homes, which will be available for social rent and those that will be available through Help To Buy South at 30% to 75% of the open market price.

Bridport Cohousing will be building the homes that will be available for 80% of open market value and also the ‘common house’, which is a bit like a community hall, and will provide an extra amenity space on site for all residents to enjoy. There will be a kitchen and dining room for shared meals and parties, and space for workshops and leisure activities, hot desk facilities and a community laundry.

The houses and flats are all private with their own gardens, and cars will be parked around the periphery, providing car free streets for children and adults to enjoy.

There are almost two acres of amenity land for residents to enjoy at the top of the site and the whole development sits at the bottom of Allington Hill, making it a wonderful environment to bring up children and for older members too. 

A significant amount of electricity will be generated by photovoltaic cells on roofs, supplying power to an onsite micro grid, with the aim of being carbon neutral over time.

Monica King of Bridport Cohousing, said:

“When we started planning this project it was seen as being idealistic, but now it’s becoming normal to build homes that use less energy.”

Martin Hancock, Chief Executive, BCHA, said:

“We are delighted that this project has reached this next phase and we are able to start building after several months of preparation of the site. We know how vital affordable housing is to our communities and the choices available with this initiative will make a significant difference to so many people in Bridport.”

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