Thanks to Sam Goss our architect who did the drawings used on this website

Community Garden Day September 29th

Our group have the use of part of a supporters’ large garden where we grow vegetables and socialize about once a month in the growing season.

Our next gardening day is Sunday September 29th

We will work from 2.30 to about 5pm with a shared tea, on the terrace if warm, or inside if not. (please bring food to share).

This is an opportunity for those interested in our project to meet with members and for members to get to know each other better . Also it’s just a lovely space to enjoy and the chickens like the company too !

Children are welcome and it’s fine just to drop in if you can’t manage the whole morning.

No dogs please. Forks and spades appreciated.

Please contact John: to let him know you intend to come as there is a limit to the number of people we can have in the garden.

Our visit to UK Cohousing Spring Gathering

The sun shone on the UKCohousing Network Spring Gathering at the Threshold Centre, Gillingham, on 17-19 May.  This turned out to be a good thing, as meetings were held in a marquee and food was served from a gazebo, pitched on Threshold’s central grassed area.

There were 40 visitors, including Hugh, Jane T, Raja, Sally and me from Bridport Cohousing.  On the Friday afternoon, after some UKCN business, we were introduced to the key speaker, Diana Leafe Christian, who has written 2 seminal books on community life.

Her teaching is based on what she has learnt over many years of working with communities.  She began by speaking about a fictitious community, describing the various things that went wrong, weaving into this teaching on various forms of consensus decision making and sociocratic decision making; with the latter proving to be invaluable to the community.  The ruse in this was that the fictitious community is her own community, Earthaven, an eco-village in North Carolina.

The Threshold Centre looked after us all really well.  Tea and coffee was always available and delicious meals served through the weekend.  I’m sure that if Alan Heeks, who co-founded The Threshold Centre and Bridport Cohousing, had been there he would have been very proud of what the Threshold Centre and the UKCohousing Network achieved over the weekend.

Diana taught four sessions on Saturday on ‘Creating a Successful Cohousing Community’.  After years of working with consensus decision making, she now teaches three methods of decision making, The N Street Consensus Model, Holacracy and Sociocracy.  It was great for our group, who have worked with Sociocracy since July 2010, to hear about its application in various contexts.

The day was filmed and we’ll flag up when it is available.  In the evening there was chat, music and an auction of various cohousing ‘opportunities’.  We waved goodbye to Raja who cycled home that evening.

On the Sunday, after an UKCN AGM, we had to choose which workshop to go to.  Although I felt I ought to go to the Affordable Housing workshop, I chose to go to Diana’s and again, she was funny, engaging and an excellent teacher; her diagrams are so full of information they do become a mess.  She did a crash ‘Introduction to Sociocracy course,’ and at the end apologised for not having time to tell us about the Policy Forming Process, ‘which is so cool’.  Obviously our group wanted to know about this.  So at lunchtime, we had our own tutorial with Diana; joined by James Priest who was also there for the weekend.  She covered the policy, which is really cool and fills a hole in our practice.

Diana ate little lunch and when prompted to eat she said that she much preferred talking about her very favourite subjects, getting community working and Sociocracy.  We probably tried the patience of the Threshold people as they cleared up round us, but it was too good an opportunity to miss.  In fact, you could say the same thing about the whole weekend.

Report by Monica King

Open Public Meeting April 16th

We started our public consultations back in November  and we are committed to continuing to find a variety of ways for people  in the local community  to feedback to us about the project. The next opportunity is Tuesday April 16th when we are holding a public open meeting. Venue: Mountfield Committee Room, Rax Lane, Bridport, DT6 3JP Time: 7 – 9pm

You may be interested in finding out more or you may have concerns about how the project will affect you that you need us to hear. Either way this is an opportunity for you to meet us and we would really like everyone to feel welcome to come along whatever their views.

Members of Bridport Cohousing and members of their professional team will be there to give a brief presentation about the project, after which there will be an opportunity for questions, followed by the opportunity to speak informally with members.

We are looking forward to meeting people who are interested in living in our cohousing neighbourhood when it is built, and we can tell you how to become a member of Bridport Cohousing, the first step in the process

If you can’t make it –  but have something to ask or something to say please use the contact form to write directly to us or leave a comment below.

Unveiling Our Plans

In late January 2013 our group successfully ran two public consultation events intended to reveal our plans to local people.  The surprisingly well kept secret of the location, namely the field directly west of Bridport Hospital raised no significant objections from the 90 or more people who left their names and postcodes.

Our preparations included delivery of 500 leaflets to households off Hospital Lane and North Allington, the closest housing to the site.  Press releases led to good coverage in the Bridport News, Marshwood Vale Magazine etc.  Snowy weather tried to intervene but after an initial wobble we decided to go ahead and manage without our architect or professional advisors who were both snowbound elsewhere.  Fortunately the architect’s diagrams and drawings of the site plans and the artist’s impression of the site from Allington Hill were sent electronically and run off by a printer in the town.  They impressed our members as much as the wider populace! See a drawing of the proposed  development here

We began the consultation on Friday the 18th January with 2 hour sessions in the afternoon and evening at the Cherry Tree Community Centre close to the Hospital.  There was a modest turnout of visitors in the afternoon, swelling to a steady trickle in the evening.  Seventeen in all and they both asked questions and volunteered local knowledge including that there were a couple of horses buried in the field!  We had 22 post-it note responses from the consultees, notably that people like the prospect of a meeting space for locals and the parish council. There were some concerns about losing part of the green lane (our likely access route), and about sewage capacity.  There was also a request for workshop space/tool shed from the Allington Hillbillies who voluntarily tend nearby Allington Hill.

On Saturday two gazebos were raised in Bucky Doo Square and we were ready by 10.00 a.m. to impress all comers with our plans.  It was cold but dry and calm so our papers and maps survived well and there was constant dialogue with many visitors. 72 peoples’ names were recorded but plenty more looked and chatted without actually signing the sheets.  We had 29 post-it note responses and 2 Response forms including 14 very positive comments. People were pleased about our intention to have no cars around the houses, and about the idea of a play area which local children could enjoy.  The general opinion was that the plans were attractive and would not be an eyesore on a Greenfield site.  Some people were willing to provide attributable statements of support that could be quoted by journalists.

Almost every BC Ltd member and ex-members were on hand at various points.  A few heroic stalwarts were there all day until 3.00 p.m. despite the chill.  The collected names and postcodes and the collated record of comments will be an important supporting resource for our planning application.

By Julian Jones