The end is in sight for Bridport's pioneering housing scheme for local people as its gets ready to welcome people this summer.

After 12 years of hard work, the wraps are coming off the community-led cohousing project which will be providing 53 eco homes which will be truly affordable.

Previously described as a 'wonderful showcase of what makes Bridport so special' the neighbourhood known as Hazelmead is being constructed in North Allington near the community hospital.

The first of the 2,3 and 4 bedroom houses will be ready for occupation this summer, with 1 bedroom flats planned for release next spring.

They will be available to buy and rent, providing a welcome boost in the affordable housing stock of the town.

Dorset Echo:

Visiting mayors at the cohousing site

The idea of a cohousing neighbourhood is to give each household its own self-contained private home as well as a shared community space, as a way to counter feelings of isolation and recreating the neighbourly support of years passed.

Lin Scrannage from Bridport Cohousing said: "The rising cost of living is high on everyone’s agenda at the moment, and these homes - as well as being more affordable than a conventional housing development - also have extra benefits which can help to save money. Some of these benefits are designed into the homes, like the high levels of insulation which will save on heating bills, and others come from the agreements of residents to pool resources and save money on sit management costs by doing some of the work involved themselves."

The project will be powered with the largest community microgrid of photovoltaic panels in the country developed by pioneering energy firm CEPRO. It will help make the project zero carbon in use, which is an extraordinary achievement for an affordable housing project.

Dorset Echo:

Cohousing is different in that the people who live there, whether renting or buying, are members of a community land trust. The freehold of the land is owned by the members collectively, and the 27 houses which are for sale are all through some form of shared ownership. 20% of the equity of the homes will be held in trust, meaning that these homes will never be able to be sold speculatively at full market price, keeping them affordable for future generations.

Cohousing neighbourhoods are set up and run by their members, so everyone is consciously committed to living as a community. Developments are usually designed to encourage social contact and make it easy to pool resources. A 'common house' will be built as part of the Bridport development where residents can meet for for sharing food, holding meetings and enjoying social gatherings.

Lin Scrannage said: "It is important to point out that cohousing is a way of living which brings individuals and families together to share common aims and facilities, whilst also enjoying their own private and self-contained accommodation and garden. This enables a richer lifestyle at a lower cost, and there will be opportunities to save money through discounted electricity, bulk buying food, sharing meals in the common house, growing vegetables together and joining a car club."

This neighbourhood will offer particular benefits for children who will have somewhere to play safely, and older people, who can find companionship and mutual support.

Many of the 53 homes have already been reserved for current members, but there is still time for people to look into becoming a new member and joining the neighbourhood.

Currently there are some 1 bed flats for shared ownership purchase (30% - 75% of market value) through the Government’s ‘Help To Buy’ scheme, and some 2 and 3 bed houses for social rent through our partner housing association.

To be eligible for being nominated for a cohousing home at Hazelmead you must be living in the Bridport area and in need of affordable housing. For more information visit