Who are Dorscoh?

We are a network of individuals wanting to create and live in cohousing projects in Dorset.

The network has been meeting since 2002.  Many of our members already live in Dorset: some have capital to buy a property, some are eligible for social housing.  In 2004, six members started the Threshold Centre, a cohousing project near Gillingham in North Dorset.  The Centre runs popular weekend workshops on cohousing and has received widespread media attention.  In 2008 full planning permission was granted to create 14 cohousing dwellings (50% with a local housing association), along with a biomass heating system and other green features.

Now that the Threshold Centre has proved the local demand and benefits of cohousing, Dorscoh members aim to create a larger cohousing scheme in Bridport.  We are working closely with Synergy, the largest Housing Association in Dorset, as our preferred social housing provider, as they have already partnered with us for the Threshold Centre.  We are also working with Ecos Trust, a leading environmental charity in the south west, who also provided expertise and help with the Threshold Centre.

Residents and volunteers on a gardening day at the Threshold Centre, near Gillingham in North Dorset:  the first cohousing community in the UK to include 50% affordable housing with a housing association.

Status of the Bridport cohousing Community

A Residents Group and Project Team have been formed to create a cohousing community in Bridport.  The intended developer partner is Ecos Homes, an established small eco-developer who built Great Bow Yard, Langport, have several schemes in Somerset and Dorset, and are a subsidiary of Ecos Trust, an environmental education charity.  The preferred housing association partner is Synergy, the largest in Dorset, who are partners in the Threshold Cohousing Centre in North Dorset.  A positive initial meeting has already been held with senior contacts at West Dorset District Council, who expressed support in principle for the project.  Our aim is to complete building in 2012.

Our immediate priorities are:
•    Recruit additional active members for the Residents Steering Group
•    Ecos Trust to do a site search, feasibility study and project budget
•    Raise awareness and seek support from Bridport opinion leaders, organisations and local people generally.
•    Expand the list of households interested in living in the project.

Aims of the Bridport cohousing community

•    Sustainability: through shared resources, e.g. car pooling, sustainable energy systems and shared facilities (e.g. laundry, guest rooms)
•    Community: by creating a traditional neighbourhood, with mutual support, safe environment and common ownership and values
•    Affordability: shared facilities mean individual units can be smaller and more affordable. Mutual support cuts living costs

Whilst the scale and facilities would be tailored to the specific site, the target features include:

•     20-40 units of housing, with sizes ranging from 1-room studios to family houses.
•    A high level of social housing provision, both rental and shared ownership: e.g. 35% of total units.
•    Strong focus on sustainability, e.g. a biomass zero-emissions shared heating system, car pooling and limits on private car ownership, units built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.
•    Community market garden:  space on site or within an easy walk where both cohousing residents and others can grow food.
•    Workspaces: small office, studio and therapy spaces, plus scope to use the large meeting space for workshops and training groups.
•    Guest accommodation for educational visitors,  eco-tourism, and residents’ guests.
•    Community facilities: the project would provide a range of facilities and services for residents and the whole of the host community: such as a car club, playgroup, special interest groups, and the community market garden.

We want to create a welcoming, informal community which includes families and single people, old and young, owner-occupiers and renters. We hope that this will be a place to work and play as well as live, with the key shared values being sustainability, mutual support, and enjoying ourselves.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 March 2009 )


Dorscoh is looking for new members
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Dorscoh is currently seeking new members who can give a couple of days a month of their time, and who support the goals and ethos of cohousing. We can give in return a supportive and dynamic environment,  opportunities for training and dual learning and knowledge that you are helping to bring to fruitition a concept whose time is surely to come.

If you would like to learn more then please contact us using the details on this website.

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 March 2009 )



Bridport Cohousing finds Development Partners
Friday, 27 March 2009
The Residents’ Group of the Bridport Cohousing Community have recently agreed to work in partnership with a local eco-developer, Ecos Homes, and with Synergy, the largest housing association in Dorset, on their plan to create a cohousing community of around 30 homes in or near Bridport.
Last Updated ( Friday, 27 March 2009