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

Finally, we have our full planning permission in place and our Section 106 signed. Hooray!!

Although our Phase 2 Planning Application was passed last November, it could not be finalised until a couple of variations that cropped up in the last couple of months were dealt with officially.

In spring this year, an anomaly was spotted in the Land Registry Plan of our land, which had, in the past been a site where a lot of clay had been removed for local brickworks. This resulted in  a high bank at the northern edge of our field and no one knew whether our boundary was at the top or bottom of this. It turned out to be unregistered land. We have had to post notices and redraw plans, which include moving a bat box to another tree (hopefully the bats won’t complain about the relocation of their new future residence!!)

The other variation was caused by our local renewable energy company (who are installing our photovoltaic arrays) needing to put more solar panels into the scheme in order to make it work for them. Great news, but this too resulted in more plans having to be redrawn and taken back to Dorset Council’s Planning Committee.However, this will also allow the Hazelmead Energy Service Company to be set up and make the whole scheme zero carbon. Because a key goal of the project is for residents to actively work to reduce their ecological footprints the ESCO will be a huge boost towards that goal of environmental resilience. Within the context of the recent understanding of the climate emergency this will significantly help our neighbourhood and the wider community.

Dorset Council has recently been restructured , and there were many new faces on the Planning Committee who were unfamiliar with what the Bridport Cohousing project is trying to achieve. As has happened in the past, various questions cropped up from committee members, but were dealt with clearly and calmly by Monica, and our scheme was unanimously given final approval – we were even asked by two members if we would come to their wards and set up cohousing there!

With the Planning permission now in place we are able to go ahead and purchase the second piece of land. With our scheme currently out to tender and our off plan sales process in motion, it looks like an extremely busy and tense summer ahead for members and supporters of Bridport Cohousing!!

Planning permission gained for Phase 2

One of the final hurdles we have had to negotiate before we can start work on site took place on Thursday 15th November 2018 at the offices in Dorchester of The Dorset Councils Partnership (of which West Dorset District Council is now a partner), where members gathered to hear the outcome of the Phase 2 Planning Application that had been first put in place May 2017.  Much work had been done to simplify a previous application which included an element of self build, and had addressed the concerns of Allington Parish Council around car parking and flooding risks.

There were some anxious moments for us when the Committee asked for clarification around the wording of the permission and why we were only being asked to build 7 affordable homes but had applied to build 19.  It took some time to establish what members of the Committee were being asked to agree to.

Happily, however, we had our professional advisor, Charles Couzens in the room to bring calm clarity to their objections, which resulted in unanimous approval for the application.

The good news is that we can now proceed with the whole development of 53 affordable houses in one step, which will have positive implications for saving us both time and money.

Happy faces all round!!

Exciting news (Oct 2018)

Latest Exciting News for Interested Enquirers!!

We have at last begun the process of building the affordable neighbourhood of sustainable eco-homes that has been in the planning stages for so long.  The first phase of off-plan houses and flats are being released in a few weeks time for leasehold purchase at 80% of open market value, and members of Bridport Cohousing Community Land Trust will at last be able to look forward to our dream becoming a reality, as we anticipate starting the groundworks in December and building the timber frame modular homes and common house by mid-Summer 2019.

The first step towards owning or renting one of these beautiful architect designed homes, situated on the northwest edge of Bridport and surrounded by delightful Dorset countryside, is to look at what the benefits of living in cohousing might mean for you and to become a member of the CLT. We hold regular events (HERE) for people who may be curious to learn about living in a neighbourhood where it is made easy for families and individuals to come together to enjoy shared activities like eating together and community gardening, while at the same time enjoying their own personal space, whenever they need it, and private self contained accommodation.

Keep a lookout for more news at the end of October, when the sales brochure will be available and sign up to our newsletter or phone 07907 993 587 for more information.


We bought the land!


 Celebration on the equinox


It’s 20th March 2018, the snow’s gone and we’ve just learned that we now really own the land for phase one and the right of access to it!  So a propitious opportunity for those of us who could be there – to do just that. We recorded the event with a few pictures (once we had disentangled ourselves from the bunting!).


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On February 11th 2016 we were granted full planning permission for Phase 1 of our project:

  • 34 homes, from 1 bed apartments to 4 bed family homes, with a high level of sustainability (AECB Silver Standard);
  • Of these 17 will be housing association homes for affordable rent (80% of open market rents) for local people; the rest will be for leasehold sale at 80% of open market value;
  • A common house – offering a range of facilities for cohousing residents and the wider community;
  • Lots of shared green-space.


In February 2017 we submitted planning permission for Phase 2 but planners had objections to our proposed siting of self-build plots. We did considerable work with a review panel on how best to integrate these with the overall design, but on further consultation with our members it was decided to step away from the whole idea of having a self-build element, which would have added an extra layer of complexity to the scheme.

Our simplified Phase 2 application, which is currently in the process of gaining approval, now consists of:

  • 19 homes – 1 bed apartments and 2,3 and 4 bed terraced houses
  • Housing Association homes for affordable rent for local people.
  • leasehold purchase homes – either finished or for self-finish.
  • shared space for allotments
  • access to common house

NB Affordability is as defined by the Government, 80% of open market rents or sale prices.

In March 2018
 we finally got an access agreement with the Dorset NHS Trust in place and purchased the land for Phase 1 of our development.

We have a new Housing Association partner

We are so happy to have Bournemouth Churches as our new housing association partner.

Getting development partners on board was the next challenge for Bridport Cohousing. We had the first phase of the land and access to it, the plans and the planning permission, huge support from the local authorities, friends, family and the community and a growing number of committed members, but we still needed partnerships with outside organisations to make the vision a reality.

Part of that vision has been to work in tandem with a housing association which would understand what makes a cohousing scheme different and see that as an asset to the way they run their own business.

On the face of it, cohousing might look like a more expensive option for a housing association to consider, as there is the cost of the common house to factor in as well as the higher specifications of the build itself, in terms of high levels of insulation and provision for generating our own power, for example.  

However, when taking a holistic approach to the potential benefits that living in this type of housing might offer, such as the well documented improvements to health and wellbeing ,  Bournemouth Churches immediately ‘’got it’’.  We met them face to face several times and have always been greeted with positivity and enthusiasm combined with a very down to earth approach.

Their values completely resonate with ours

  • Personal integrity
  • The importance of every individual
  • To honour and empower the people they serve
  • The importance of working as a team

They are friendly, effective, concerned and run an impressive social programme alongside their housing programme to enable their residents /tenants to improve their lives, employing 500 people to deliver their services. We also liked that their offices are not plush and display paintings on the walls of the board room that their residents have done. We think we have found the best partner and a huge thanks to member Chris for introducing them.

The icing on the cake was the announcement on Monday 17 September of the opening of the second phase of the Community Housing Fund and the news that funding towards shared facilities, like a common house, is part of the package.  Good news for us and for our new housing association partner.

Our marvellous news!

We are delighted to say that our loan offer was over-subscribed and has enabled us to proceed with the purchase of Phase 1 land. 

The access agreement with the Dorset NHS Trust was finally approved by the Department of Health just days before our option to purchase the land ran out. This caused much anxiety for members because we could not have proceeded with the purchase without this agreement in place and was possibly the most stressful part of the Bridport Cohousing journey to date!!
All worked out well in the end, and on 20th March 2018 (also the spring equinox) members gathered to mark the occasion with a photo-shoot and walking the boundary of their newly purchased land.

BC welcome photo

Loan Offer

Our last big news was that we had paid the deposit for the purchase of the site of our cohousing scheme.   With the site access agreed with the NHS Trust, we now need to fund the purchase of the land.

To achieve this we have launched a Loan Offer Prospectus, inviting members, friends and supporters of Bridport Cohousing, and their friends, who are interested in social investments to make loans of £1,000 plus.  We have opted for this size of loan because, as a small community-led development, we need to know we can administer the volume of paperwork generated by these loans.

We’re looking to raise £250,000 by the end of January.  There is a Reply Form at the end of the prospectus which people can use to tell us, by 10 January, that they wish to invest, and we send a loan agreement form for them to sign and return to us by 31 January.

Below are the first two pages of the prospectus (click on the pages to enlarge)

(For a full prospectus click HERE)

Page 1

Page 2

Heart-warming news

Bridport Cohousing CLT has an option to purchase the western part of the site in which we plan to develop our cohousing neighbourhood; this is our phase 1. 

We also have an option to purchase the remaining part of the site, phase 2, when planning permission has been granted.

Having been granted Planning Permission on phase 1, in order to exercise the right to take up an ‘option to purchase,’ the buyer has to serve notice on the vendor of their intention.  If this is not done the buyer loses the right to purchase the land.  The deadline for us to serve this notice was Wednesday 26th October.  On Tuesday 25th October Hugh went to the vendor’s solicitor’s office, and handed over a notice of our intention to take up the purchase option and a cheque for the requisite deposit.  The receipt from the receptionist was treated with great reverence!

The notice requires us to pay the balance of the monies in 90 days which is Tuesday 23rd January 2018.  That is the end date; once all of the elements needed are in place we could do it earlier. 

We are delighted to have moved into this phase or our plans.  We’ll keep you posted as the next stage of making a special place unfolds!

Phase 2 planning application news

1401_place-for-people-smallWe are delighted to say that Bridport Cohousing’s Planning Application for phase 2 of the site was registered on 10th May 2017; this is for the 2+ acres that were not in the phase 1 planning application.  The number of our application is WD/D/17/000534.

Here is the web link to the application:

The consultation period, during which members of the public are invited to send in their comments, started on 22nd May and ends on 12th June.     LATE NEWS: The consultation period has now been extended to 30th June.

We invite all our individual friends and the Friends of Bridport Cohousing to look at our plans and then email or write to the council to offer your comments in support.

Cohousing is still unfamiliar to many people and the responses from supporters will demonstrate that it is a recognised way of living; with known benefits like careful husbanding and reduced use of resources such as energy and water, car ownership and use, but more walking and cycling which generates better health outcomes for residents.

We had a fantastic response to our phase 1 application from residents and friends in Bridport, and we’d be delighted if you are also able to support this application.

If you have any questions please contact us on: 07907 993 587 or via our website

Information for those wishing to submit a Written Comment:
Please remember to include the number of the planning application WD/D/17/000534 and send it to:

West Dorset District Council
Clare McCarthy
South Walks House
South Walks Road
Dorset  DT1 1UZ

With thanks from the members of Bridport Cohousing.

New Logo for Bridport Cohousing


Bridport Cohousing’s original logo was a gift from Alan Heeks, who had adapted it from one he uses. It has served us well for 8 years. When Sam Goss, our architect appointed first to design our common house​,​ heard we were looking for a new logo he offered us a design, based on the footprint of the Common House.

We put it onto ‘Loomio,’ an online platform that offers a group discussion and voting space, for members to consider.  Some of us loved Sam’s drawing and some of us didn’t, which was an indication of what is involved in choosing a logo. However submitting our planning application was looming ; the need for a logo got overtaken by events.

We later approached Julian Howells who is a valued friend of Bridport Cohousing and he offered 3 designs for us to consider.  He drew on local associations in both typefaces and images.   This was really very helpful as it opened up our discussions on what we all wanted.  Again, choosing a logo got overtaken by events.

When Peter joined us he was concerned about how he as a new member might contribute to the project and when we explored what work he did, highly skilled painting on glass, designing a logo for us seemed a good way to use those skills and creativity. He set to work and produced a series of ideas and ‘’doodles’’ which tried to embody the spirit of our project and give reference to the site we will be building on.
Finding a way for all members to reach an agreement on something as subjective as a logo was never going to be easy!!  Bridport Cohousing has the wisdom to use Sociocracy as a way of reaching decisions and, happily, this eased the whole process for us. Firstly we elected which of Peter’s designs we felt carried most weight. This was in the form of a letter ‘b’ interlocking with a letter ‘c’ and once we had agreed that this was the most widely accepted and understood motif we handed the job of developing this into an identifiable logo to a professional graphic artist. Sohani’s son Carlos was approached and agreed to take on the work and he, in turn, produced a series of ideas for us to consider.

logo-leaf-web-We discussed colour, texture, fonts and emblems – some thought the leaf did not have anything to say about the project and was too generic, but on researching the symbolism of a green leaf we find that it is an ancient heraldic symbol of ‘’happiness’’ and can be used to represent ‘’hope’’, ‘’renewal’’ and the ‘’beginning of life’s cycle’’.

Although the whole process of finding a new logo from beginning to end took several years, within a very short time we were able to reach consent within the membership. We have now got our new logo identity just in time to be used for the marketing brochure, the updated website and on our business communications with funding agencies, businesses and local authorities. A huge ‘’Thank You’’ to all the people involved  in bringing our new logo to fruition.

BBC Radio Solent called us

Monica King writes…Steve Harris of BBC Radio Solent called on the BC phone and asked if Bridport Cohousing could do a live radio broadcast interview with him.  The date was set for 15 Feb and, with no one else available to talk live on radio, I took it on.  
Steve and Simon had spent the morning with residents at the Threshold Centre, then driven to Bridport.  They had a video camera which was a bit of a surprise to me!  It turned out they were getting material for a live radio show, and filming for BBC local news.

I showed them our explanatory boards and then we went to the site; we ‘leaned on the fence’ where we made the opening on Dormouse Day, and did a video piece where Steve asked questions and Simon filmed.  Then I got dropped off at home while they went off to find a long shot of the town and go home.

Steve called an hour later, and said they had had a technical problem with the microphone on the first take and could I do it again; so we went back to the field and re-did the piece. I got dropped home again and we said goodbye, Steve saying he would email me about joining the live radio conversation to take place on the following Tuesday at 8.10 am!  During the day I had been fairly relaxed about the whole thing, but by the end of the day I was aching all over, so I had obviously carried tension in my body without being aware of it!

Steve called on Monday 20th and said they had made the radio piece and had enough material so I was off the hook for the live radio programme on Tuesday, which was good news as 8.00 in the morning is a bit early for me!  
On Tuesday Steve emailed a link to the radio programme that had gone out that morning, saying he hoped I approved (link here) and they were working on the TV piece.  That evening I was watching the local BBC news on TV, something I rarely do, and was surprised to hear that the next item was about cohousing. There was Steve at The Threshold Centre and then the film from Bridport.

That night he sent me a link to the TV programme,  and hoped that I approved.  I assured him I did and thought he and Simon had done a great job.  My only regret was that, along with the absence of young faces in the film which was down to who was available, the bit about ‘cohousing being for all ages, but that it tends to be pioneered by older people who have the time’ had not survived.

It was interesting how much more information a few minutes of radio can convey when compared with television, where the camera wants interesting things to film.  Several Bridport people have said they had seen and enjoyed the news item, so it will be interesting to see whether we get any enquiries as a result of the BBC Radio Solent programme.