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

A Breakthrough Day – first new homes on site (for dormice!)

dormousedayDecember 9th was a really exciting day for us as we were able to start work on our field.

A section of hedgerow needed to be removed in order to make an entrance for the machinery that will start putting in the infrastructure on site, which is due to start in spring 2017, and in the winter months there would be no problem with disturbing nesting birds.

We are mindful that this may affect other local wildlife species, and because dormice may be active in nearby woodland on Allington Hill, we enlisted the help of ecologist Bronwen Bruce of Abbas Ecology to look for signs of them hibernating.

Although no dormice were found on the day Bronwen help us put up four special dormouse nestboxes which we had purchased, so that in the spring they will provide safe places for the dormice to build nests and, hopefully, breed.
The common (or hazel) dormouse is an endangered British species which spends the winter months in hibernation, often in the shelter of hedgerows, underneath leaves or logs. A small golden brown mammal, with large black eyes and a furry tail, it is well know to us through the story of Alice In Wonderland, where it fell asleep in a teapot at the Hatter’s tea party

We are very keen to develop the site with a view to sustainable living; and creating even more biodiversity around our living spaces is important to us – ponds and native tree planting will create more habitats and we plan to actively manage our hedgerows and trees to create the right environment for these beautiful and elusive creatures.
Members worked really hard, with the help of our mangement consultant Charles Couzens ( wielding chainsaw) to achieve the breakthrough and we were pleased that prospective member Alison and newest members Emily and Herbie gave a helping hand just when we needed it.

By Lin Scrannage

Dormouse Day: Friday December 9th

dormouseIn preparation for developers starting work on site in a few months time, we need to make an opening in the hedge that adjoins the hospital approach road, that will in time form the entrance to the site.
The opening has to be made in winter, when there are no nesting birds; with an ecologist on site to assist us in the event  of finding dormant dormice.
We will be doing this work on Friday 9 December, starting at 8.00am; because the hedge is deep this work may take some time. We anticipate working from inside the field, outwards, and do not expect to inconvenience people going to and from the hospital, but we may attract some attention from passers by who are using the road.

After a rollercoaster summer – good news!

eco-homes-images29It’s been abit of a rollercoaster this summer with the recent changes to legislation meaning that just as we got the go-ahead from the planners – it became clear that the whole future of housing associations was in doubt – especially in regards to building new houses!

It was a nail biting time and it’s a measure of the staying power and tenacity of this group and our advisors that we didn’t give up. We are relieved and quietly delighted to be able to say that things are looking a lot more positive now and we are in the tendering process with contractors.

Once we hear back from contractors, the next stage will be to finalise the development agreement between the housing association (Hastoe), the contractor and us, with the aim of starting on the infrastructure (roads and carparks etc.) in early 2017.

Another unexpected twist in the story is that due to Hastoe being able to secure some extra funding for affordable housing, the planned second stage of the project could (subject to a further planning application) happen a lot sooner than we all imagined . This could mean an extra 17 houses for rent and up to 13 self-build or self-finished houses. We anticipate that  while residents of these additional homes would need to sign up to some of the cohousing objectives, like recycling and greener travel, they could choose whether or not to be part of cohousing.

There has been a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes as all manner of things have needed to be thought through & negotiated as we take a step nearer bringing this project to fruition.

We will be putting up a lot more information on the website as it all unfolds and also keeping people informed through our ‘friends of Bridport Cohousing’ monthly newsletter which you can subscribe to here. The important questions people keep asking like ‘when will it be built?’ and ‘how much will the houses cost?’ will hopefully be answered within the next few months. Watch this space!

Public talk: architect Sam Goss on Bridport Cohousing Thursday 22nd September

Thursday 22 September, 7.15 for 7.30, Bridport Town Hall. 

Alan and Sam the ManSam Goss is a partner of Barefoot Architects and is known to Open EcoHomes visitors as the architect of the Chalk Wall house in Dorchester and the planned cohousing in Bridport. He will give a talk on Bridport Community Cohousing, covering sustainability of housing and also the broader design process and evolution of the project from an architectural perspective. £4.00 or 4 NETS, less if you can’t afford it.

ITV News Feature.

We were on the telly! Thanks to Duncan Sleightholme who put together this news story for ITV.


We did it! Full planning permission granted today

Victory shot 500













Delighted to announce that today (Thursday Feb 11th)  we were granted full planning permission! This picture was taken outside the planning office.

This is the culmination of 7 years work by the group and 18 months of waiting for the planners to make a decision.

We’d like to thank our architect Sam Goss who had a tall order to satisfy both the needs and desires of the residents group and the planning requirements. Also our two consultants Alan Heeks and Charles Couzens who have kept the faith for all this time!

We are very grateful for  the substantial pre-development funding we received from the Homes and Communities Agency, and the support of the organisation Locality in this process as well as the funding from West Dorset District Council which, along with monies from members of Bridport Cohousing, made the application possible.
Most of all we want to thank the people of Bridport for all the wonderful local support for this community-led project.

We know theres still a way to go before we all move in but this is a huge milestone.

Finally – a date for the planning decision! Feb 11th


Well this is it – the moment we have been waiting for – for 18 months (yes really – 18 months!) – our planning application is up for a decision on Thursday February 11th. Fingers and toes crossed that they will see what a benefit this could be to the local community.

Its taken 7 years to get to this point so wish us well! We hope to be part of a movement towards many more new models of community led affordable housing projects. Will keep you posted re the result.

Informal Gathering at Symondsbury Kitchen

cakeIf you are considering whether Bridport Cohousing might be for you – the best way to start to get to know who we are and what we are up to is to come along to one of our  events.

The next one is on Sunday 15th November. It’s an informal gathering for tea and chat at Symondsbury Kitchen. 11am

Come and meet some of the people who are already involved and find out more about whats happening. Look out for a table with a Bridport Cohousing sign on it. We’ll have a cuppa and maybe a walk weather permitting. Check out our other events on our events page:

Amendment To Our Planning Application

West Dorset District Council is consulting on an amended description in our planning application

We have been asked by West Dorset District Council to amend the description of our planning application.  The reason for this is to do with the definition of affordable housing which is currently used by the council’s housing department.  This means that people living in Bridport who are in housing need would not be allowed to be allocated houses in the development.  This is the way in which the rural exception sites policy has to be applied, which uses a new Dorset wide housing allocation policy which was revised since our application was submitted.

This change in the allocation rules caused a problem for us, because the rules of Bridport Cohousing as a Community Land Trust and the Local Lettings Policy which were submitted with the planning application state that the housing that is be created is for the benefit of Allington Parish and Bridport and surrounding parishes.

So to get round this problem we have been asked to change the description and the application will be considered as a normal planning application where only 35% of the houses have to be affordable and they can be allocated according to need from both Bridport and Allington equally.

The allocation of the remaining houses can then be allocated according to the existing Local Lettings Policy of Bridport Cohousing and this can be guaranteed by the planning permission being granted with a legal agreement between the council and Bridport Cohousing called a Section 106 agreement.  In addition Bridport Cohousing is set up as a Community Benefit society and the rules say it must provide affordable housing for local people and this is guaranteed by the Financial Conduct Authority. A third safeguard is that the agreement to purchase the land is conditional on only providing affordable housing.  So there are three guarantees that we will provide affordable housing.

The survey which was carried out in February 2015 had responses from 55 households 47 or whom either lived in Bridport or Allington and are keen to be housed in the cohousing neighbourhood.   45 of the households were eligible for affordable shared ownership housing and 31 were either on the housing register or unable to afford to buy a house on the open market.  This survey confirms the high demand for affordable housing within a cohousing neighbourhood from people with a strong connection with Bridport and Allington.

You can see a summary of the online survey results here: Survey Results March 2015. In addition there were 12 paper forms submitted and data from these forms is included in the numbers quoted above.

CHC of Ecos Maclean

On Behalf of Bridport Cohousing.

21 May 2105

Cohousing Allotment Day Sunday May 3rd

gardening-july 2013Join us at the Bridport Cohousing allotment Garden 2 – 4.30pm – Come and meet some of us and enjoy a gentle afternoon’s shared work. If you can bring something to share for tea (not compulsory). Ring John Hinsley to find out more: 07919 065568 or email