Building works to bring a development to bring affordable community housing to the town have started.

Following on from news earlier this year in February that site preparation had started, members of Bridport Cohousing are delighted that work got underway on Monday.

Homes England awarded grant funding to Bridport Cohousing and Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA), which will be responsible for some of the homes.

Martin Hancock, chief executive of BCHA, said: “We are delighted that this project has reached this next phase and we are able to start building after several months of preparation of the site. We know how vital affordable housing is to our communities and the choices available with this initiative will make a significant difference to so many people in Bridport.”

The contract to build the 53 affordable homes was given to CG Fry and will be built with high energy efficiency.

The houses and flats are all private with their own gardens and there will also be a ‘common house’, similar to a community hall which will provide an extra amenity space. There will be a kitchen and dining room for shared meals and parties and space for workshops, activities, hot desking and community laundry.

Sue, who is looking to rent a one-bedroom flat at social rent, said: “It’s really exciting that affordable, sustainable community living is coming to Bridport. I had previously lived in Bridport for seven years and it’s the only place I want to be, but I had to reluctantly move out of the town as I couldn’t afford the high rents.

“It really is a fantastic beacon project for environment, community and sustainability and how to integrate social housing into new developments sensitively.”

The idea of a cohousing neighbourhood for Bridport was first created back in 2008 when Alan Heeks and some original members of Bridport Cohousing sat around a table with district councillors and the MP.

Sally, who has been with the project since 2008, said: “I’m so happy after all the hard work everyone has put into Bridport Cohousing - at last work is really starting and our homes will be built. I’m so looking forward to moving in.”

The site also has almost two acres of amenity land for residents to enjoy at the top of the site and the whole development sits at the bottom of Allington Hill.

Jools said: “As a local family raising children in the town, we are delighted to be a part of Bridport Cohousing. We have the opportunity to access affordable eco-housing, to be a part of the design and structure of the site which gives us a unique opportunity not often associated with affordable housing. We have joined a friendly, vibrant and hard-working community which holds the needs of local people at its core.”