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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

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