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

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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

New Survey: March 2015

survey Please note this survey is now closed. Thanks to everyone who took part!

We are currently surveying people with a questionnaire designed to establish for the planners that there is a local need for this project.

Our survey is aimed primarily at people who either live in one of our three target areas (tier 1:Bridport area, tier 2: West Dorset and tier 3: Dorset)  but we also welcome people who live outside those areas but can demonstrate a local connection.

If you are potentially interested we would be very grateful if you could help us by filling in this survey. You can either download a paper version here (which you would have to fill in and post or scan and email to us): Survey of Housing Needs or follow this link for an online version. We need all replies in By March 23rd so this is fairly urgent!

March events



These informal events offer a chance to get to know abit more about the project from the people who are already involved. No need to book – just turn up. If you can’t make any of them and really want to make contact with the project – do get in touch as we can try and arrange someone to meet with you.



Sunday 1st – Cuppa & chat @ the Symondsbury kitchen (10.30 am)  followed by a walk up Colmers Hill  ( leaving about 11.15 am)

What will our houses look like?

   Monday 7th April there was an excited buzz in the air as we passed wood and brick samples round the room and Alan and Sam the Mandiscussed window sizes and outdoor space, orientation and garden sizes.

    Sam Goss, the architect designing our neighborhood, presented us with some of his ideas at a meeting in early April where almost all our member households were represented. We clustered in groups, poring over detailed drawings of apartments and houses of all sizes and gave Sam feedback on these initial ideas.

    Most people loved Sam’s innovative designs and made constructive suggestions for making them even better as well as giving the ‘thumbs up’ too many aspects.  Sam has already met with planners and other council officers so this meeting is the next step towards our planning application. Watch this space!!

Sally Collings

About Our Open Events

teaBridport Cohousing has been holding open events for people who are interested in finding out more about our projects right from our early days.  Some are formal public meetings and others are much more informal gatherings.  In the winter this is usually around cups of tea or coffee in a Bridport cafe.  In the summer we arrange walks, often with a cafe involved at some point, and gatherings on the beach at West Bay.

In Bridport Cohousing we want to create an intergenerational neighbourhood where young and old are valued people.  So it was a special pleasure for us to find that among the people coming to our February open events were several people with young families.  Until now our membership has consisted mainly of individuals or those with older and grown families.  Our members to date have put in a lot of work, which has depended on them having spare time to give to the project; something which is often in short supply for families with young children.

We think having a mix of ages is so important for making a successful neighbourhood that 20% of our homes are reserved for families, so that they are not disadvantaged by not being able to join the project early on.

Like some others of my age in this group I have grandchildren who don’t live in Bridport; but cohousing means I can benefit from the vitality and freshness that other people’s children will bring to our neighbourhood.  And when my grandchildren visit there will be other children for them to play with.

So if you are interested in cohousing, do come along to an open event to meet some members and ask questions. And if you are reluctant to meet lots of new people at once contact us, via our ‘Contact us’ webpage  and we can arrange for you to start by meeting just a couple of members, at a local cafe.


Funding Bid Success!

We are celebrating our successful bid for funding from the Community Led Project Support fund. It’s a real boost for the project just in time for Christmas!

This grant of £46,500 will enable us to take forward the planning application for the project.  The valuable responses gathered from Bridport people, during the Public Consultation events held earlier this year, will form part of the revised plans.

It’s an important step forward in making our dream a reality of creating an environmentally sustainable and affordable cohousing neighbourhood of 30 homes, and a common house with food growing space and gardens on the outskirts of the town. (In cohousing projects the idea of the common house is to provide a facility for people to meet and work together, formally and informally. We also plan to make the common house and food growing area available to those living in the surrounding area.)

We would like to express our gratitude for the support of many of the town’s residents and councillors,  our professional advisers, Alan Heeks and Charles Couzens, and  Jo Gooding and the UK Cohousing Network.  Oliver Letwin, Bridport’s MP, has also  helped us as we navigated our way through the newer funding streams from the Homes and Communities Agency for community led initiatives.

The group currently has 15 households, and welcomes people into membership who want to live more sustainably and affordably.  Some homes will be for rent, some for part buy/part rent from a housing association; and some affordable market houses from Bridport Cohousing CLT. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more.

Sociocracy Workshop with Diana Leafe Christian

When: Sunday October 6th Where: Weymouth  Time: 9.00-5.30pm

Cost £25 including lunch

Bridport Cohousing are delighted to be hosting this event with  Diana Leafe Christian

Diana will present a full day Sociocracy workshop, starting at 9.00 am and finishing at 5.30 pm.

Sociocracy, which means “governance by peers,” is a whole-system self-governance process with a built-in decision-making method.  Also called “Dynamic Governance” in the US, Sociocracy is based on three values; equivalence, transparency, and effectiveness.  When using Sociocracy, intentional communities — usually fairly equivalent and transparent to begin with — can become considerably more effective and efficient in how they manage their community and achieve their goals.

In Sociocracy a proposal is measured, evaluated, and, if needed, modified after the group observes how it works in real circumstances. So community members don’t need to “support” or “approve” a proposal, but simply be willing to try it.   In contrast, when using consensus people often feel pressure to keep discussing and negotiating a proposal until it becomes “perfect” enough so they can approve it.  It can create a tense situation.  But in Sociocracy there’s no such pressure to create a “perfect” proposal. Meetings tend to be more relaxed and lighthearted because proposals need not be perfect but merely “good enough for now,” or “safe enough to try.” (An operative phrase might be, “OK . . . let’s find out.”)

Thus Sociocracy frees up energy for curiosity, learning by doing, and innovation —  and tends to create more harmony and good will too.
While our programme is designed for Bridport Cohousing, who have been using Sociocracy for some time, we would be delighted to be joined by others who are interested in developing their understanding and practice of Sociocracy.

For further information, booking and address of the venue please contact us on 07890 660594 or email us