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Building Better Lives - Bridport Gateway Project

We are working on an exciting development in Bridport.

In partnership with developers Shaw Healthcare and Morgan Sindall Later Living, and registered housing provider East Boro Housing Trust, we are producing plans for a community development including new care and housing facilities on 2 sites off South Street in Bridport.

We own the sites and our partners are bringing their development expertise and finance to help make this exciting opportunity a reality.

Why are we doing this?

The number of people living with dementia in the area is likely to increase significantly in the coming years, and we want to ensure that there is the right kind of care in place for those people.

Bridport lacks any extra-care accommodation unit for frail older people and people with disabilities. New extra care housing in Bridport will help people to live independent lives for longer.

There are also limited options to help younger adults with disabilities to move from home when they want to, or to return to the local area after they have been admitted to hospital. The extra care and supported living housing will enable people to play an active role in the local community if they wish to and to live more independent lives. There is not enough affordable housing in the Bridport area for people in keyworker roles such as nurses and social carers, and that makes it hard to recruit to these jobs. This development is an opportunity to create some specific housing to encourage them to live here.

Our plans build upon things people told us through public feedback from 2013 to 2015 and also incorporate views sought from key local organisations including:

  • NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • NHS Dorset Healthcare Bridport Community Hospital
  • Bridport Medical Centre
  • Bridport Town Council

What's happened so far?

Between June 2018 and June 2019 we went through a procurement process to choose our development partners. We have now signed an agreement with the developers to sell them the land at an agreed price once they have an approved planning application for a development which meets all of our requirements.

The developers have now taken on an architect to turn concept ideas into full designs, and are carrying out site investigations in order to take these to the next stage of design.

Over summer 2020 we shared the latest drawings of the proposed developments and asked local people to give their feedback.

Latest drawings

Flood Lane site, next to Morrisons

Flood Lane Diagram V6
This is the architects’ latest drawing of the Flood Lane site, next to Morrisons

We want this part of the scheme to provide:

  • extra care housing, specifically designed to enable people with support needs, problems getting about and increasing frailty to continue to live as independently as possible for as long as they want to. These homes should be available at affordable rent.
  • a new care home to care for people with complex nursing and dementia needs
  • a respite care facility that will allow people to stay for short periods of time to help give family carers a break, help prevent admission to hospital, or help people get back on their feet after a stay in hospital
  • community space with excellent facilities, allowing people living on the site and those in the wider community with disabilities to join and take part in activities and events run by local community groups
  • public gardens and green space for the whole community to enjoy

This scheme does not include any planned changes to Sidney Gale House opposite the site.

Fisherman's Arm's site off South Street

Fisherman's Arms Diagram V6
Architect drawing of Fisherman's Arm's site off South Street

Here we want to build a mixture of affordable houses and apartments units. Some will be targeted for workers in care and health jobs and some will be for people with disabilities. Our aim is for these homes be available at a mixture of social rent levels or affordable rents.

Your feedback about the proposals

We ran an online survey from 6 July until 7 August 2020 and also encouraged people to phone in, email or write to us to share their views about the latest proposals for the scheme.

We had a great response with over 120 comments submitted through a range of channels.

What you liked

Lots of you like the proposed development and more than half of the responses to the online survey were positive about Bridport Gateway.

You are also happy to see that we are providing more affordable housing as part of the development, and that it is for key workers, locals and young people.

Your concerns

A handful of comments raised concerns that the development will ghettoise elderly people in Bridport. This is the opposite of what we want to achieve.

Our key aim is to ensure that people living in the scheme are part of the Bridport’s vibrant community scene. That’s why the development will be close to the town centre, rather than out of town. We hope that Bridport Gateway residents will help increase footfall for local businesses and, in turn, support Bridport’s local economy.

Some of you were concerned about what the development will look like, if it will be environmentally sustainable, while others raised concerns about parking and traffic management. The detailed design and planning process will address these issues, making sure that the development will fit with the surrounding area and be in line with Dorset Council’s emerging climate policies.

What we have learned

We have collated all the feedback we received and shared this with the developer so that they can incorporate your views into the designs.

Find more information about what we learned.

Next steps

We are talking to residents in care homes, and people who receive care in their own homes, to ask for their views on these proposals. We will also be talking to voluntary and community organisations in the area to get their comments, answer their questions and find ways of ensuring we can work together to provide a good range of activities in the Flood Lane site.

When the developers submit their planning applications there will be a formal consultation where residents can comment on the detailed designs for the buildings on both the sites.

Frequently asked questions

When is this all going to happen?

We expect the developers to submit formal planning applications in the coming months. A contractor will be appointed in 2021 and completion of the work is likely to be late 2022 or early 2023.

What will the buildings look like in detail?

We don’t know yet. The comments people submitted over the summer will be fed into the detailed design phase. Once the developers have submitted the planning application you will be able to see the detailed submission and have your say as part of the formal consultation.

Who will be moving into the new 'affordable' housing that's planned?

Some affordable housing will be for key workers – people who work in the social care and health professions in the West Dorset area and some will be for people in the local area who struggle to afford to live here. A Local Lettings Plan will be developed to determine who is eligible to occupy these properties.

Will the housing really be affordable?

The government define affordable housing as 80% of market value (or market rent) and in lots of places this is still not affordable for local people. In this development there are a few different types of housing, but our Development and Housing partners are aiming to deliver as much as possible at or as close as possible to social rents.

For Keyworker and General Needs, the homes will be available at affordable rents.

In Extra Care housing and other housing with support, there are often extra things that have to be built into the service charges that bring them above social rent levels – this reflects the extra requirements around mobility standards, communal space, and background housing support that people who need this type of housing often need. The target rents are still lower than ‘affordable’ rents and will be as close to social rent as possible given these extra requirements.

Will you keep the memorial stone and gardens at the old Bridport Connect building?

We will make sure a memorial is kept on the Flood Lane site and we will discuss this with residents when we get further into the design process.

What’s happening with Sidney Gale House?

This scheme does not include any planned changes to the Sidney Gale House residential care home as this new provision is for a nursing home and extra care scheme. We will plan any changes in the future with residents and the local community.

What Adult Day Care provision will there be now that the Fisherman’s Arms and Bridport Connect are closed?

Bridport Connect services were moved to St Andrew’s Road in summer 2018 when the building in Flood Lane closed. Dorset Council is starting a programme of improvements to day care services which builds on our response to COVID-19 as people have been unable to attend services based in buildings. We will be talking to day service providers, the people who use day services and their families later this year. Our ambition is to design the development in a way that incorporates a community hub. We know that there are lots of public buildings and facilities in Bridport which could be better used and we would like to work with the local community to explore this further.

While the plans are developing and the site is being built, we and the developers will be building relationships with local organisations and our health partners, and planning the provision of a range of activities in and around the development designed to take the place of the previous provision in Fisherman’s Arms and Bridport Connect.

We are keen to establish a local working group with anyone interested in supporting local people with care and support needs to connect more effectively with their local community and are really keen to hear from you.

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