What will it be like living in the Hazelmead neighbourhood?
In many ways living in cohousing is like living in a traditional neighbourhood or small village. Residents will, to varying degrees, all know one another, socialise together and support each other. To gain these benefits residents take on greater obligations than with a normal tenancy agreement or lease, to share the running and maintenance of the community.
Will there be good children’s facilities, play areas and the sharing of child care?
The site gives lots of opportunities for informal play for older children, and we anticipate a fenced space for really young children; it will be for residents to decide on the details. The Children’s and Young Persons’ (CYP) subcircle will be looking at what shared childcare might be needed.
Will there be a shared workshop space?
There will be a shared workshop space for residents of Hazelmead. Interested members will decide together how best to use it. Part of the workshop will be allocated to the Allington Hillbillies community group for equipment storage.
How ‘green’ is cohousing?
Sustainable living is an important part of cohousing, and we encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. This could mean not having a washing machine in your own kitchen but using the shared laundry. Car ownership is limited to one space per household, unless alternative off-road parking is arranged. Car sharing will be actively encouraged and there will facilities for electric car charging. There will also be plenty of space for bicycle storage. The homes are being built to a high standard of insulation with many features that will maximise the use of solar energy. Air-source heat pumps will provide hot water and the small amount of additional heat the homes will need. We aim to grow as much of our own fruit and vegetables as possible.
How can I find out what homes are still available to rent or buy?
Take a look on our marketing site to see which homes have been allocated. The rest have not been allocated yet, but might have someone in line for allocation. However, until allocation happens, nothing is fixed in stone! If you’re thinking about joining but aren’t sure what your chances are of getting a home, we would advise you to come to an event and talk to some members.
How long does it take to become an active member?
This process is never rushed as it takes time to work out if Bridport Cohousing is right for you. We expect potential new members to come to at least four Zooms and two in-person meetings before starting the formal application process. On average, it takes between four and six months to complete.
What’s expected of me if I join Bridport cohousing as an active member?
You will be expected to join up to two work circles and contribute at least eight hours per month in volunteer time. For example, this time could be spent at meetings, writing up minutes, or helping out with maintaining our allotment and field boundaries.
What if the size and tenure of home I want is not currently available?
We keep people who are interested in becoming residents of Hazelmead regularly informed about the availability of homes. Once you have become an active member, after about 6 months, your application to become a resident will be put forward to the Nominations Committee, who will independently evaluate whether you fit the criteria in our Local Lettings Policy. If the size and tenure home you have in mind is not available at this time, you will be put in a waiting pool, because sometimes people have to change their plans and homes become available to another household.
Will there be access to community and educational events and other opportunities?
We very much hope that residents will want to organise events of this sort.
Can my friends and family come to visit/stay?
Of course! If you have room they can stay with you in your own home, or you might want to hire a guest room for a modest charge.
How are the society rules regulated and enforced?
We operate a lot on trust. However if the community perceives that someone is persistently not complying with the agreements a sanctions process will be put into play, outlined in our lease agreement and handbook. Ultimately a resident may be asked to leave.
Can I bring my pet?
Probably. Our Pets policy indicates some of the current thinking on pets in the community, taking into account different people’s preferences and sensibilities. As with all our policies, it is under review by the membership.
How are decisions made?
When making policy we operate a consent decision-making process. This means we try to find a solution that takes account of everyone’s views, and actively seek objections which can often improve the final outcome. Read more about how we organise ourselves using Sociocracy.
What happens if I fall out with someone?
In choosing to live here, you commit to making every effort to resolve disputes and differences as quickly as possible. The Care and Counsel subcircle is responsible for overseeing this process. We recognise that it may sometimes be necessary to ask someone else living in the community to act as a mediator. In serious cases we may appoint an external mediator.