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Building Better Lives - Bridport Gateway Project

Dorset Council is 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 two sites off South Street in Bridport.

Dorset Council owns 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 by 74% until 2035. Dorset Council wants to ensure there is the right kind of care in place for those people
  • Bridport has a limited amount of accommodation with support provided. There are limited options for younger adults with disabilities to move on from home when they want to. There are also minimal options for people that need to leave hospital with increased care needs. An Extra Care scheme in Bridport will enable people to either move to live more independently or continue to live as independently as possible with support on site from a care provider.
  • 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
  • the Bridport scheme also aims to offer essential keyworker housing for those employed in the care sector in Bridport. This will improve difficulties such as recruitment and retention of skilled and experienced staff to provide support to local people.
  • we asked local people and care providers some time ago what they thought was needed in Bridport. There was a lot of support for a development that provided a care home, extra care and supported housing and day service facilities that enabled people to connect with community groups and resources.

What's happened so far

In January 2020 we signed agreements with 3 companies with solid backgrounds in providing and operating housing and nursing care to develop plans to:

  • provide accommodation for adults with care and support needs and
  • improve access between them and the rest of the town’s life and activities

This followed a procurement process carried out in accordance with national legislation, which involved discussion with competing organisations throughout the process. This process is called ‘competitive dialogue’.

The Building Better Lives team have also been working closely with Bridport Town Council and the Bridport Area Partnership over the course of the project so far and agreed our engagement plan with the town council.

The current plans also incorporate views sought in discussion with key local organisations including:

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

They demonstrate our intention to provide:

  • a new purpose-built extra care housing scheme off Flood Lane fronting West Bay Rd. The homes are 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 will be rented only and at affordable rent levels.
  • a new care home with nursing at Flood Lane providing care services for people with complex nursing and dementia needs in modern, purpose-built facilities. The council needs to be able to support people requiring such level of care whilst effectively managing the pressure on its resources.
  • 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
  • a minimum of 25 affordable housing units at the Fishermans Arms site on South Street, some of which will be targeted for workers in care and health jobs
  • a number of housing options for those requiring supported living; this may be for care leavers, adults with learning or physical disabilities or those with mental health needs.

They were drawn up to show how our requirements can be accommodated on these sites, and the concept plans exceed our minimum requirements.

Latest drawings

The developers have now started site surveys and their architects have been working up designs. They aim to submit planning applications in autumn 2020 and, as part of the planning process, residents will be invited to provide their comments on them.

Flood Lane site next to Morrisons:

Flood Lane Diagram V6
Flood lane site diagram next to Morrisons

Fisherman’s Arms site off South Street:

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

Your feedback

From 6 July until 7 August 2020 we ran a survey to find out what people thought about the plans and are still in the process of seeking feedback from some stakeholder groups.

Thank you to everyone who has given their feedback so far. We will collate this and share our response as soon as possible.

Next steps

We have agreed with the developer that, once they have an approved planning application which demonstrates that our requirements for housing have been met, we will sell them the land proposed for housing at an agreed price.

We will keep the land proposed for the nursing home but rent it to the developer on a long lease. Some of the beds in the nursing home will be provided through our Adult Social Care service and some will be available on the open market for private care.

Planning permission will be sought in autumn 2020. We expect work to begin on site later in the year and for the accommodation to be ready for people to move into by winter 2022.

Here is an indication of the proposed timeline

Frequently asked questions

Where will the highways depot go to which is currently working at the Fishermans Arms site?

Highways activity will move to land they already use just north of the Fishermans Arms site, off South Mill Lane. We have provided them with a replacement office, and they will move all their equipment to that land during summer 2020.

Why have there not been more 'public' events to find out about the scheme?

We have been working with the Town Council and local organisations using the current facilities to define what’s required. We met with the Town Council in May to go through our plans and to agree how we would get comments on our proposals from the residents, and now we are sending leaflets to everyone in Bridport describing our plans and have set up phone-in sessions to answer their questions and get their comments. Once the plans are complete, they will be submitted in planning applications, and residents will then be invited for further comment as part of that process.

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.

When is this all going to happen?

The Developers are looking to submit formal planning applications in November 2020. Formal consultation will take place as part of the planning process. Please see the timeline.

We'll be updating these pages as more information become available, but if you have any queries, please get in touch using the contact details above.

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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