Sustainable Communities

Sustainable Communities

Living with a greater degree of community meets several pressing needs of our times. It is a vital step in living more sustainably, since it enables sharing of resources between households, such as transport and food growing. It also helps to meet the desire for stronger social contact, mutual support and the sense of neighbourhood.

This section gives you information about three sustainable community projects I am involved with in Dorset. On this website you can also find more information about cohousing and eco-villages.

Bridport Cohousing

Bridport Cohousing is intended as a benchmark project of resident-led, sustainable, mixed-tenure cohousing, i.e. including a benchmark project of resident-led sustainable, affordable housing, with low energy buildings, and facilities for shared transport and food growing. The project has received full planning permission, and construction should start soon. Click here to read more.

The Threshold Centre

The Threshold Centre project was co-founded in 2004 by Alan Heeks, operated on a pilot basis for several years, and eventually gained planning permission in late 2008. It is the first low-impact and affordable co-housing scheme in the UK. Construction work was completed in early 2010, and the project is now fully operational, and runs regular weekend workshops on cohousing and sustainable living. Click here to read more.

DEVA: Dorset Eco-Village

This is a vision for a significant pioneering project with a range of social and environmental benefits:

  • An eco-village for 200+ people based on cohousing (self-contained dwellings plus shared facilities)
  • An informal community with shared values, including sustainability, mutual support and wider service
  • Visitor learning facilities for all aspects of sustainable living, an eco-lodge, spa and natural health centre
  • A social-green enterprise park and public service projects for the local and wider communities
  • A site with open space, community market garden and woodland

Alan Heeks led a small team doing initial evaluation for this project for five years, but work was stopped in 2007. The initial research confirmed the appeal of this project for potential residents and visitors, and included an initial financial evaluation. The project is now awaiting involvement of larger partner organisations who could provide the professional capacity and initial funding to take the project forward.