Rebecca Ayling and 4 year-old daughter Nola move into their forever home
Rebecca Ayling and 4 year-old daughter Nola move into their forever home

The first BCHA residents have moved into their beautiful new homes at Hazelmead cohousing development in Bridport. Bridport Cohousing is the UK's largest cohousing project to date, comprising 53 sustainable, affordable eco-homes to buy and rent.

Bridport Cohousing has teamed up with BCHA, Dorset Council, and with grant funding from Homes England, are providing homes at Social Rent levels through the Council’s Housing Register and low-cost Shared Ownership, which were available through the Government’s ‘Help To Buy’ scheme.

BCHA are delivering 39 homes of which 26 will be for Social Rent and 13 for Shared Ownership, starting with a 25% share. Bridport Cohousing has delivered an additional 14 homes for Shared Equity with an 80% share. They will be working together to enable residents to manage the neighbourhood, including the extensive landscaping and food-growing areas.

Rachel Townson and her 5 year-old son Devereux was one of the first to move in to her new home on 22nd May and said:

“I am ecstatic and over the moon to be part of this loving and warm community. We are very hopeful for the future. Being a single parent I am really looking forward to my son having roots and growing up in a supportive environment. It is an opportunity for us to thrive and grow in this beautiful, green, eco-friendly environment”

Eliza Hall-Nunn also moved in on this sunny Monday in May with her 4 year-old son Ozlo and said:

“We are really excited to be part of a very special community. We are also both really pleased to have our own bedrooms. So much of modern day life is set up to be more independent and being a single parent you need to rely on a community as you really do need a village to raise a child”

Lorraine Mealings, BCHA CEO, said: “It is great to see this community-led project come to fruition and start providing affordable housing for local families in need, especially during this cost-of-living and housing crisis. It will be a fantastic place to live and BCHA feel privileged to be part of such a pioneering eco-homes cohousing project, the very first of this scale in the UK.”

Rebecca Ayling and 4 year-old daughter Nola, who also moved with her new neighbours in May, has struggled with the housing crisis and was really emotional to be moving into her forever home. She said: “I am overwhelmed with positive emotions. Knowing I no longer have the threat of no-fault evictions through private renting and I finally have the security to stay here. My child has an amazing place to play and my new home has a lovely viewpoint of Allington Hill. I feel very lucky”

With Hazelmead set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is a perfect setting to raise families and to escape the cyber culture of today. It is built on former farmland, creating a biodiverse habitat for birds, reptiles and mammals at the heart of the scheme.

Common areas have been planted with native trees and sparrow and swift boxes are attached to terraced houses. A commitment to organic gardening and the principles of permaculture (meeting human needs while enhancing biodiversity and reducing our impact on the planet) will ensure that land is cultivated in tune with nature.

Providing residents with access to land for cultivating food is integral to Hazelmead’s vision of food security. Bridport Cohousing’s Lin Scrannage says: “All houses have community growing beds at the rear and we will use these areas to grow food for shared meals in the Common House. We also have two full-size allotment plots off-site, where residents can garden together. We are planning to bulk-buy fresh organic vegetables and food staples from local suppliers, which will cut food bills for residents and reduce food miles.”

Every aspect of the development – from a carbon-free, solar-powered microgrid, to integral use of air-source heat pumps, supremely insulated homes, car-free streets and on-site food-growing spaces – has been designed to eliminate the need for fossil fuels and harness the power of the latest eco-friendly technology. Bridport Cohousing has even set an ambitious target of reducing the community’s carbon footprint by 40% over the first five years of living at Hazelmead.

This Dorset-based flagship vision of sustainable, community-based living, conceived in 2008 with construction soon to finish, sets an excellent benchmark for energy efficiency and low-carbon housing.

“These are no ordinary homes,” adds Lin. “They have been designed by Dorset architect Sam Goss of Barefoot Architects. They are spacious and light and are ultra-energy efficient which will cut residents’ heating bills dramatically.”

BCHA are pleased to confirm there is still availability of three one-bedroom flats to buy via shared ownership. Homes can be purchased for as little as £43,750 via a 25% share of the property.

Jack Rushforth, BCHA Development Manager, said: "We are delighted to be able to offer these amazing shared ownership properties at Hazelmead in this exciting development, combining sustainable building practices and materials, alongside the ethos of cohousing to create a community-driven neighbourhood with great quality homes. Residents will benefit from affordable homes, high EPC ratings and exceptionally low energy costs; all situated in the Dorset Area of National Beauty.”


Please go to our website for more information on these shared ownership opportunities.

For media enquiries, please contact

Eliza Hall-Nunn and son Ozlo are excited to part of this eco-friendly community
Eliza Hall-Nunn and son Ozlo are excited to part of this eco-friendly community

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