Huge demand for affordable homes in Langton Matravers

Keys have been handed over to 28 lucky families who will live in a new complex of affordable homes in Langton Matravers, where the average price of a house has now soared through the half-million pound barrier.

More than 1,500 people registered their interest in the houses at Spyway Orchard through the Dorset Housing Register, but all except one went to Purbeck families, most of whom had links to Langton.

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Langton Matravers parish councillor Ian Vaughan Arbuckle at Spyway Orchard

Parish council delighted with result

The parish council had originally opposed plans to develop the old orchard at the end of Durnford Drove with concerns that they would be homes for elderly incomers at inflated prices that few locals could afford.

They were also worried about a flooding risk on the land, increased traffic down the narrow lanes and the loss of natural habitat on greenbelt land leading down to Dancing Ledge.

But after a planning inspector ruled that building could go ahead, the parish council worked closely with housing association Aster Group and has been delighted with the result.

There was early opposition to plans for the homes on an old orchard site

“We were concerned they would be incomers”

Langton Matravers parish councillor Ian Vaughan Arbuckle said:

“The parish council and the residents of Langton Matravers had some reservations about Spyway Orchard which went on for some years, but eventually it was the planning inspector who overruled our objections and the housing was built.

“I have to say that it has turned out 100 percent better than we thought it was going to.

“We were concerned that we were going to get incomers, but all the houses have gone to local people which was the object of the exercise and was very heartening.

“We are hoping very much to be able to integrate the residents of Spyway Orchard into life in the village and also hope that we will get some students for our little school.

“We could do with an influx of younger people in the village, to be honest. In the end it has been a success story, there’s no doubt about that and we look forward to welcoming the residents of Spyway into our village community.”

A green space with pond has been left for wildlife at the end of Spyway Orchard

Birds, bees, bats and hedgehogs all catered for

The site, which is an ecological enhancement area, has been developed to include bat boxes, bird boxes, bee bricks and a hedgehog highway which provides gaps in the fencing between gardens to allow hedgehogs to move freely.

The new homes have been built using grant funding from Homes England, and delivered in partnership with Dorset Council, local housing association Aster Group and developer Countryside Partnerships.

All of the homes at Spyway Orchard have been allocated to residents from Langton Matravers or those with a strong connection to the area or neighbouring rural parishes, via the Dorset Housing Register.

Dorset councillor Graham Carr-Jones (centre) with Ian Vaughan Arbuckle, Sadie Pickernell of Aster Group, Chris McDermott of Dorset Council and Rosemary Elliott of Countryside Partnerships Southern

Making a significant difference to lives

Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council spokesman for housing said:

“It’s great to see this development providing new homes for local people in Langton Matravers.

“Affordable housing makes a significant difference to people’s lives and Dorset Council is working on several affordable schemes across the council area, supporting communities and providing homes for households with a need for local housing.”

The development is a mix of one-bed flats as well as two, three and four-bedroom houses, built in locally sourced stone in a traditional style to reflect the Purbeck character.

The average cost of a home in Langton Matravers is now over £500,000

More than 100 properties in Langton Matravers are registered second homes

Average house price is now £555,000

Amanda Williams, chief investment officer at Aster, said:

“Local residents across the South West are being squeezed out of the area by the rise of holiday short-term lets. In Langton Matravers the average house price has broken through the half million mark at a staggering £555,000.

“We are delighted to be able to hand over 28 sets of keys to the new residents moving into the affordable homes at Spyway Orchard from the village and surrounding parishes.

“The mix of homes will cater to a range of people enabling them to continue living in an area they love, close to family and friends.”

More than 600 new affordable homes were built by housings associations in the Dorset Council area in 2022 and the council has also acquired several homes for rough sleepers through the Next Steps and the Rough Sleepers accommodation programmes.

The Old Malthouse buildings

A public meeting has been called to discuss housing plans for the Old Malthouse

Public meeting called over Old Malthouse

A separate development at the Old Malthouse in Langton Matravers, previously a school, may see around 15 homes built by the Satao group.

Langton Matravers parish council has called a public meeting on Thursday 25th May 2023 in the Village Hall at 7pm to determine the level of community interest in working with the Satao group in any development on the Old Malthouse site.

Mr Marcus Clarke of the Satao Group has told the council that it is important the community has a say in what happens there and although he believes some residential development is appropriate for the site, he has also emphasised a commitment to green space.

It is hoped that the development, on a 15 acre site, could accommodate local people as well as second home owners.

Further information

  • Follow village matters on the Langton Matravers Parish Council website

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