Swanage Town Council and Swanage Community Housing have agreed to explore the potential of developing a parcel of land in Swanage to provide affordable housing for working families with a strong connection to the town.
The field, on the corner of Ulwell Road and Washpond Lane, currently belongs to Dorset Council and is used as a horse paddock. It was given by local benefactor James Day to Dorset County Council together with the site of Day’s Home and James Day Mead. The Town Council has applied to Dorset Council to have the property transferred to local control, and a decision on this should be made in early 2023.
There is an urgent need for affordable housing in Swanage and neighbouring villages. In Swanage, at this moment, there are 119 active households on the Housing Register already, and a further 56 households have submitted applications.
The Trust and Council have been exploring the possibility of developing other larger sites in the town to meet this need. However, they cannot be taken forward at the current time as no alternative sites for the relocation of existing uses have been identified.
One of the principal challenges related to the Ulwell Road site is regular flooding of parts of the field. Mitigation of this risk will need to be fully explained as part of any future planning application. It is estimated that approximately 7 dwellings could be built on this land, with parts of the site remaining as green open space.
Town Mayor, Tina Foster said: ‘It is so important that homes are available for people who make an important contribution to our town but cannot afford to live locally. The Town Council has, therefore, decided to support Swanage Community Housing’s proposal to explore whether the field on the corner of Washpond Lane and Ulwell Road can be developed sensitively to meet genuine local need’.
Robin Sutcliffe, Chair of Swanage Community Housing said ‘Community engagement will be extremely important as the proposals for this site evolve and there will be many opportunities to contribute to the project during 2023’.
Swanage Community Housing was established by the Town Council as an independent body run by a Board of local trustees to provide housing for local working people. It was in part inspired by the successful community housing project at Worth Matravers.
More information about Swanage Community Housing can be found on their website https://www.swanagecommunityhousing.org which includes information about how people can support the project by becoming a Member.