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Praise for Bridport Cohousing at opening event for affordable eco-homes

Bridport Cohousing, the UK’s largest cohousing project to date, was this week praised for its commitment to sustainability, ground-breaking design and playing a vital role in addressing the demand for affordable housing in Dorset.

The pioneering development of 53 sustainable, affordable eco-homes to buy and rent, called Hazelmead, celebrated a milestone on Monday 31 July at a celebration event attended by MP for West Dorset, Chris Loder; the Mayor of Bridport, Cllr Dave Bolwell and many other stakeholders who brought the flagship housing development to life.

South West-based charitable housing association BCHA is delivering 39 homes of which 26 will be for Social Rent and 13 for Shared Ownership, starting with a 25% share. Bridport Cohousing is delivering an additional 14 homes for Shared Equity with an 80% share.

Hazelmead’s flagship eco-homes benefit from clean, green electricity generated by a site-wide, solar-powered microgrid with hot water provided by air source heat pumps – providing inspiration for developers nationwide who are striving to create sustainable housing schemes in response to the climate emergency.

The AECB Building Standard timber-framed construction properties are triple glazed and super-insulated to near Passivhaus levels, with green-fingered residents already growing fresh, organic food at the site’s flourishing community gardens and food-growing spaces.

Chris Loder MP described the celebration of Hazelmead as ‘the culmination of 15 years of incredibly hard work” that transformed the vision of Bridport Cohousing into reality.

‘I remember coming here a few years ago and it was little more than a field. The development is a real testament to everyone who worked so hard on this project.

‘The homes at Hazelmead are very special for many reasons. One of the really important aspects of community land trusts is they afford the opportunity for homes and housing for people who live or work locally, who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to have their own home.’

Lorraine Mealings, CEO of BCHA, praised the ‘incredible patience, determination, passion and motivation” of everyone who has brought Bridport Cohousing to life.

‘Hazelmead is now home to amazingly beautiful properties with first-class eco-credentials, surrounded by inspirational food-growing spaces. It is lovely to hear children playing in car-free streets that are already full of flowers, fruit and vegetables. I can feel this new community coming to life – it’s already thriving and evolving. BCHA is exceptionally proud to be the development partner and be part of this exciting journey.’

Lorraine extended her thanks to building contractor CG Fry, Homes England, which provided grant funding, Dorset Council, the incredible efforts of Bridport Cohousing and to her colleagues across BCHA who were busy allocating all of the homes.

She also expressed her delight that Hazelmead has been shortlisted for Best Development (0-100 homes) and Best Affordable Housing Development (less than £10 million) at the national Inside Housing Development Awards 2023, which will take place at the end of September.

The high-profile national awards champion teams, schemes and solutions that have made a positive impact on communities across the UK – celebrating the outstanding achievements of house builders, developers, landlords, architects and sustainability innovators.

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