Why does Dorchester need affordable housing?

Dorchester is a fantastic place to live but it is becoming more difficulty for young people to afford to buy their own home.

Why is this and what can we do about it?

THE HOUSE PRICE v. AVERAGE EARNINGS GAP

  • Lowest available open market properties start at £150k, rapidly rising through £180k and beyond
  • Only 1% of properties in Dorchester (c. 100 properties) are shared ownership – everything else is open market or rented
  • Average Public Sector pay is £25k (DCC, WDDC, DCH, Schools), Private Sector probably lower
  • Typical mortgage multipliers + deposit require properties priced @ £90-£120k to be affordable
  • Consequently, under normal circumstances, young First Time Buyers find it very difficult to get onto the housing ladder in Dorchester

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Making It Happen

Since the Special General Meeting lots has been going on and we feel that we are making real progress with the project.

Board Directors Alistair and Barry wanted to give you an update about what has been keeping the Directors busy.

Reed Watts was chosen as the Dorchester Area Community Land Trust’s preferred architects for the Trust’s first project namely the provision of 20 affordable housing units for young Dorchester workers on the site of the tennis courts opposite the Borough Gardens at the bottom of West Walks. Reed Watts invited Directors of the DACLT to spend the day looking at the developments undertaken by the architects.

Matt Reed met us at Waterloo station and it was only a ten minute walk to the recently completed block of 30 “Pocket Living” flats in Sail Street. We were able to inspect one of the flats which, like all the others in the building, only occupies 38 square metres. The flat was more than spacious enough to contain a main living area and kitchen area, a bedroom with a double bed, a wet room with shower, toilet and hand basin, a built-in storage cupboard with connections for a washing machine and a small hallway. For more details of our visit please read Andy’s recent blog!

 

The “Pocket Living” model is a fine example of thoughtful design which could easily be incorporated into the Trust’s first project.

Thoughts on Construction

We then went on to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre where Reed Watts designed a new Rehearsal Studio and other facilities on a very challenging site. Construction is well under way and we were impressed to see how modern technology had allowed building of the base footprint to come within three feet of a mature tree without damage to either the tree or its root system. Trees are a very important feature of the tennis court site – they are also very important in Royal Parks !

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DACLT Goes to London

Director’s of the DACLT were invited by the Architects ReedWatts to visit the ‘Pocket Living’ flats in Sail Street, London. This was an opportunity for the Directors to get a feel for the type of accommodation that it would be possible to provide in Dorchester.

Andy wrote about the visit and provides a description of the flats along with some important questions that the Board must now consider!

DACLT Visit to “Pocket Flats” in Sail Street, Waterloo

We visited the development at 8 Sail Street SE1, where there are 30 new one-bedroom flats over five floors, with lift and small roof garden. Each deck has a small communal cycle store area. Letter boxes are at ground floor level inside the main front door.

The ground floor at street level is also used for flats with doors direct to the pavement though set back from it by about a metre or so with occasional vertical posts to delineate the edge of the development.

The flats are all similar and 38 m2 in size.

The front door is off a common walkway which runs along the west side of the building. This provides partial screening from the road and railway. The walkway is only accessed through two secure doors with key fobs. The communal areas are cleaned and maintained by the management company ~ presumably at some charge to the residents.

The Flat

Inside, the flat all is painted white, ceilings are high and doors are large – wheel chair accessible?

Each flat has three windows – one small in the kitchen at high level onto the walkway, (presumably for ventilation), one large multiple-way opening window in the bedroom and one very large window with Juliet balcony in the east-facing living area. There is a good deal of light.

The bedroom is comfortably big enough for a double bed and a small amount of furniture. The three photos start with looking back towards the front door – the bathroom is effectively behind the hanging space and living area to the right.  The other pictures show the bed, desk and window.

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Design Team Meeting

Our design team will be meeting on Friday 19th January 2018 @ 11am. This meeting will give members of the Board the opportunity be to hear from our architects Reed Watts and engineers about how their ideas and designs are progressing. It will also give the Board a chance to discuss the various issues.

Please find the agenda for this meeting here.