Affordable housing consultation to take place in Swanage

With plans progressing to provide genuinely affordable rental properties for local people in Swanage in Dorset, there’s to be a consultation for those who want to find out more.

Swanage Community Housing, which has been set up as a community land trust (CLT) to develop land for the benefit of the town, is to hold a drop in event between 4 pm and 8 pm on Thursday 4th January 2024 at All Saints Church in Ulwell Road, Swanage.

Washpond lane

The plot of land on the corner of Ulwell Road and Washpond Lane in Swanage is a serious option for affordable housing

Come along and have a chat

The search for suitable land by the CLT has taken many years, as of course, most obvious local sites have already been identified and built on by commercial developers.

However a plot of land in Swanage on the corner of Ulwell Road and Washpond Lane, owned by Dorset Council is now a serious option, so the CLT would like to invite neighbours and those interested in its work, to come along and have a chat.

This follows a Swanage Town Council meeting on Monday 11th December 2023 when people living close to the site said they felt they hadn’t been sufficiently informed about what’s going on.

Concept plan of development
Swanage Community Housing

A concept plan of what could be built on the plot

“Many key workers can’t afford to live in Swanage”

Chair of Swanage Community Housing Robin Sutcliffe said:

“It’s all at a very early stage and while we have an option on the land, it won’t be transferred to us until there is planning permission and there will be a formal public consultation at that stage.

“However we welcome the opportunity to informally discuss with neighbours and other interested parties, what we have done so far.

“At the moment there’s no architect plans to see other than a basic concept drawing. We estimate that about 10 homes may be able to be built on the site, based on a land survey but that’s not been decided on at this stage.

“It’s generally accepted that a main inhibitor to economic development is the lack of really affordable housing. Many key workers can’t afford to live in Swanage and there’s a big waiting list for social housing.

“Our aim is to provide local housing for local people at genuinely affordable rents in perpetuity – that’s part of our constitution!”

Field in Washpond lane

The field, which is currently used as a home for horses, is within Swanage’s settlement boundary

Swanage families facing homelessness

In September 2023, there were 191 households with a local connection waiting for a home in Swanage.

At the Swanage Town Council meeting, there was a mother of two children from a long-standing Swanage family, who along with her partner are working, but are facing homelessness.

She explained that after being offered emergency caravan accommodation at Herston Farm Yards in Swanage for nine weeks, they were given temporary housing in the town for six months.

During this time the family is expected to apply for properties across Dorset. There are no properties in Swanage for them to apply for, so they don’t know what will happen at the end of six months if they haven’t found anywhere.

Another person who has lived here for many years and works in a local school reported that her private landlord is selling her home. She cannot find alternative private rented accommodation.

The nearest potential home on Dorset Council’s social housing list is in Gillingham in North Dorset, more than 40 miles away.

Hastoe scheme in Essex

A development in Essex recently completed by Hastoe

Partnership with Hastoe Housing Association

Swanage Community Housing has chosen to partner with Hastoe Housing Association to help it deliver the new housing.

It says that Hastoe was chosen as it has an excellent track record of building small, sustainable schemes in sensitive rural areas such as Swanage.

Robin added:

“Swanage Community Housing is made up of local residents and we welcome more members. For just a small subscription, people can join us and support the provision of social housing for local people and key workers who otherwise could not afford to live in Swanage.

“It’s the best way to stay up to date with the progress of the scheme and be central to what’s happening. People will be able to sign up at the consultation if they wish.

“We’d also like to encourage anyone who is interested, to come along to the next Swanage Town Council meeting at 7 pm on Monday 15th January 2024, as the use of the Ulwell Road / Washpond Lane site for the provision of affordable housing is to be discussed by councillors.”

See examples of Hastoe’s work

Further information

  • Consultation drop in event takes place between 4 pm and 8 pm on Thursday 4th January 2024 at All Saints Church in Ulwell Road, Swanage BH19 1LL .
  • More about Swanage Community Housing
  • Become a Swanage Community Housing member
  • More about Hastoe

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