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!!