Accommodation with support: Purbeck Gateway

About Purbeck Gateway

Purbeck Gateway is an exciting new specialist housing and community development near Wareham town centre.

Once complete, there will be approximately 90 affordable homes available for local people over 18 years old who have care and support needs. This figure may vary slightly once a detailed plan is drawn up.

We are working with the local town council, health service providers and others to ensure the scheme is fit for purpose now and for years to come.

The land, currently owned by us, will be developed to create homes, jobs and a space for people who live and work in Purbeck to come together.

Find out more about affordable homes.

Purbeck Gateway Proposals

Our Cabinet approved the latest plans to develop the 1.6-hectare land on 1 March 2022, with:

  • Extra Care housing – homes specifically designed to enable people with support needs, mobility difficulties and increasing frailty to continue to live as independently as possible
  • affordable housing – including permanent Supported Living accommodation; offering care for adults with learning and physical disabilities
  • space for a GP surgery and community pharmacy
  • space for early years nursery provision
  • dining facilities for tenants and the wider community plus a community room/activity space in the Extra Care building

Phases of development

Phase 1

The first phase of the transformation of the former school site is complete. 18 high quality temporary and relocatable housing units for Supported Living, called Red Oak Court, were installed in July 2020.
The current tenants of Red Oak Court will be able to move into new permanent accommodation at neighbouring Purbeck Gateway if they wish and they will have the chance to co-design some of their living space with the council and partners if they want to.
People will move into the new building before the modular units are removed from Worgret Road and relocated to a different part of the Dorset Council area.

Phase 2

This is the main development, which will be done by our development partner (to be confirmed) but overseen by the us. The site will be transformed into a new, thriving space with new homes, health facilities and a community area.
Any planning application submitted by the Purbeck Gateway developer(s) will require a Visual Impact Assessment to be carried out and designers will have to take account of the impact of new buildings in terms of size and what they look like.
Similarly, there will be Ecology Impact Assessments and mitigations to avoid any negative impact on local wildlife.
We have already conducted surveys and are aware of what is likely to be acceptable or unacceptable from a planning perspective.

Purbeck Gateway timeline



We hosted a market engagement event for developers and present proposed plans (as above) for new Supported Living and Extra Care homes.

June to July

We carried out a survey about neighbouring Worgret Road Playing Fields, to gather thoughts and ideas about how the recreational space can be utilised in the future.


With Wareham GP Surgery we held a public engagement event on Wareham Quay, to share the latest proposals for the former middle school site.
Autumn to Winter

Procure care and support services provider.
Start procurement process for the company which wants to work with the council to build homes for local people.


The procurement process continues, with a developer to be agreed and final plans to be submitted. The public will be able to comment on these when available. Once this stage is complete a full timeline to completion will be made available.

We wanted to find out:

  • what the community would like the site to be used for
  • whether sports or community groups would like to run events or sessions

The survey results:

  • 252 survey responses from across Wareham and Purbeck
  • 156 respondents were under 55 years of age
  • we had the most responses from the 35 to 44 age group
  • 220 people made suggestions on what the site could be used for

Aerial photo of Worgret Road playing fields, and the gateway development

We asked people what they would like the area to be used for. Here are the most common suggestions:

  • sport-type recreation for families and younger people
  • skate park
  • greenspace, wildlife walks, nature trail
  • keep football and training pitches
  • good playground
  • events, social events, market, yoga
  • picnic area, bbq, benches, bins
The results of the survey will feed into future conversations about the site, which we will lead on, working with the community and other stakeholders, to create a green space which can be enjoyed by all in years to come.

Why we're building more homes in Wareham

The population of Purbeck aged 75 or over will increase by 67% over the next 20 years. It is expected the number of 85 year olds and over living with dementia will increase by 92.3%. At present, there is not enough suitable accommodation for older people. 

Purbeck – and Wareham in particular – lack sufficient social care accommodation for frail, older people and people with disabilities. There is one residential care home in Wareham. The nearest Extra Care facility (purpose-built accommodation to enable people to live independently, offering residents 24 hour care on-site) is over 15 miles away, in Blandford Forum. To make sure people have choice around where they live and how they are supported, we will do what we can to increase the supply of housing and support in the area.

There is limited adequate accommodation for young adults with disabilities to move out from home when they want to or to return to the local area after they have been in hospital. The Extra Care and supported living accommodation will give them the chance to play an active role in the local community if they wish and live more independent lives.

What is Extra Care accommodation?

In Dorset, a scheme is defined as Extra Care accommodation if it contains self-contained apartments and communal facilities, offers hot meals onsite and has an onsite care team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The schemes are designed to accommodate people with a wide range of care needs, up to and including end of life care.

We are interested in exploring the concept of Extra Care housing as an accommodation with support model for people of all ages, rather than just for over-55s as has been traditional. We are keen to work with registered providers of housing (such as housing associations) and domiciliary care and support providers, to find out how this is working elsewhere in the country.

Environmental considerations

The plans will consider the community around the development site and will address issues of traffic, parking, the ability to travel easily without using a vehicle and access to green spaces. We are aiming for this to be a low carbon development as it is important for us to lead on sustainability.

We will be working with colleagues to ensure the preservation of the habitat of wildlife wherever possible.


Planning policy will dictate the number of parking spaces onsite. We will work with developers and use market data to make sure there is enough parking while also encouraging alternative forms of travel by improving walking and cycling routes and making sure there is secure storage for bicycles.

Detailed plans, showing the exact number of parking spaces, will be drawn up and consulted on as part of the formal planning process. All options offer flexible use of parking spaces which can be used for different purposes at various times of day. We don’t believe that this development will lead to any negative impact on nearby residential streets.

Health facilities

The council and health partners explored the option of building a health hub on existing council land, incorporating a GP surgery and hospital services alongside new specialist homes before the Covid pandemic.

After the height of the pandemic, each organisation involved in Purbeck Gateway reassessed how their services will be delivered, funding and various other options.

The council will continue to progress building specialist, affordable accommodation for local people on the former school site, as indicated on the original plans during public consultations.

Our partners at NHS Dorset – working with Wareham GP surgery – have made their own decisions about their part in the project, which is outside of the council’s control/jurisdiction.

The GP surgery could potentially move premises from its current location on Sterte Road, Wareham, to the new development. If they choose to go ahead, they will work alongside the council, but will recruit their own developer and manage the build of the surgery themselves, supported by NHS Dorset.

Dorset NHS Healthcare have chosen to invest in services and the building at their current location.

Dorset NHS Healthcare provided the following statement (March 2022):

“We have been working with our partners at NHS Dorset and Dorset Council for a number of years to evaluate the long-term requirements for health and social care in the Purbeck area, and plan future services and facilities accordingly. Part of that work involved scoping out proposals for a scheme which would co-locate health teams, GPs and social care services at one ‘hub’ site in Wareham.

“However, health and social care priorities and approaches have moved on during this time. This has particularly been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen a marked increase in virtual collaborative working across teams and services.

“There is no consensus among partners about the benefits of physically co-locating services on one site, when weighed against the costs involved, and so the hub project will not be going forward at this time.

“For our part, we will continue to deliver a range of services from Wareham Hospital, which currently include physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, podiatry, new-born baby health checks, audiology, pain management, mental health services and much more. The hospital still has sufficient space to offer us scope to develop and enhance our services as required in the coming years. At the same time, in line with national NHS policy, we remain committed to providing care and support for people in their own homes as much as possible, whether virtually or in person.”

Find out more about Purbeck Gateway

News releases

More information about Purbeck Gateway

1 March 2022: Cabinet decision March 2022 (point 58)

Find out more about living independently with support in Purbeck

Contact us

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Accommodation with support Programme

Tel: 01305 225850
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