Affordable housing handed over in Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset

Comerwicke Fields, Aster Group’s affordable homes development in the Dorset village of Okeford Fitzpaine has been completed providing the local community with 27 much-needed family homes.

Construction commenced on the site in 2021, and was finished on schedule last month, in preparation for new occupiers to move in. A welcome event took place on site earlier this month for the new residents and those directly involved in the project.

Local Councillor Jane Somper, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Andrew Billany, Corporate Director of Housing and Community Safety both from Dorset Council and members of the Parish Council were also in attendance to see the energy-efficient new homes and greet the first residents. This is the first completed development AJC Group has delivered in collaboration with Aster Group, to provide affordable housing in Dorset.

Located on Castle Lane in the village of Okeford Fitzpaine, the rural site has been sensitively constructed and designed to seamlessly blend into its countryside surroundings. There is a mix of sizes and styles, including two, three and four-bedroom semi-detached, mid terrace and end terrace houses. Each home has a private garden, dedicated hardstanding spaces, and residents’ car parking. The development is 100% affordable housing with eight homes for social rent and 19 homes available through shared ownership.

Amanda Williams, Chief Investment Officer at Aster, said: “We’re delighted to have worked in collaboration with AJC Group to deliver this affordable housing development in Dorset. There is a desperate need and shortage of affordable housing in the area, so we’re pleased to be able to offer these beautiful homes which will benefit future residents for years to come.

“There are now just two homes remaining at this site; a two-bedroom mid terrace house and a four-bedroom semi-detached house. Both homes are available through shared ownership and will provide, like all residents at Comerwicke, with a secure, affordable place to live in an area they know and love.”

Shared ownership provides an affordable way onto – or back onto- the housing ladder. Buyers purchase a share of a property and pay rent on the remaining share. This reduced the size of the initial deposit required and if they want to, purchasers can buy more shares in their property (known as staircasing), eventually leading to outright ownership.

David Cracklen, Director of AJC Group, said: “We are extremely proud to have now completed this brilliant development for Aster Group, which provides much-needed affordable housing to the Okeford Fitzpaine community and wider area. The homes are built to the highest standards and this project is in line with our commitment and corporate strategy to build 500 affordable homes by 2028. The development programme and finished homes pay respect to the local heritage of the area, while enhancing the surrounding village.

“It’s been great to work with Aster Group and we look forward to completing our second collaborative development in Dorset with the same team before the end of 2024. We currently have 57 homes under construction at the newly regenerated Dorchester Brewery complex, which will also be 100% affordable.”

Councillor Jane Somper, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing at Dorset Council, said: “Dorset is a wonderful place to live. However, homes in rural locations, like Okeford Fitzpaine, normally come at a premium. This makes it harder for local families to get onto the housing ladder in their local area, so it is great to see a newly completed affordable housing scheme which supports the local community.

“Dorset Council continues to work closely with our communities to build more homes where they’re needed, and we’re committed to supporting the delivery of the right homes in the right places for generations to come. It’s brilliant to see AJC Group and Aster Group working together locally to provide more affordable housing.”

For further information about the remaining homes at Comerwicke, click here.

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