04 Apr 2018

Successful community loan offer secures Bridport Cohousing site

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Successful community loan offer secures Bridport Cohousing site

Bridport Cohousing has reached its milestone financial target of £250,000, securing the future of its 34-home community development in Mead Lane. The funding has enabled it to purchase the land for Phase 1 of its scheme.

The cohousing group pursued an alternative route to gaining the necessary finance for its affordable neighbourhood in Bridport, Dorset.

Using a Peer Funding model, the group looked to the local community for loan pledges, with group members’ family, friends and contacts aiding with the target.

The group recently paid the deposit for land at Mead Lane, with site access being granted by the NHS Trust – a pivotal agreement. In order to pay the outstanding land costs, Bridport Cohousing launched a Loan Offer Prospectus, seeking social investments of £1,000 and more, from members and local supporters.

Following an extensive marketing campaign, Bridport hit its milestone target in just under three weeks, bringing the group significantly closer to realising its vision.

The community housing group received substantial pre-development funding from Homes England and West Dorset District Council, but required additional funding to support its new housing scheme.

The cohousing group was granted initial planning permission for Phase 1 of its site on 11 February 2016, after a seven year process.

Bridport Cohousing will create 34 new homes of varying sizes, with a high level of social housing provision and a strong focus on sustainability and community facilities.

Of the homes, 17 will be housing association homes for affordable rent, 80% of open market rent, for local people, while the remaining homes will be for leasehold sale at 80% of open market value.

Planning for Phase 2 is being refined following initial objections from planners, but should deliver a further 24 homes, including 10 self-build serviced plots.

Barefoot Architects created the designs for the site, collaborating with LT Studio Landscape Architects on the master plan for the site

Words: Jen Grimble. Plan credit: LT Studio Landscape Architects

Editor’s comment

Cohousing demonstrates pluck and tenacity to overcome the barriers to housing, testing innovative approaches to finance, among other aspects of the housing supply process. It’s a huge well done to Bridport Cohousing who are creating a community the hard way, but following close to their values and ambitions.

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