Construction starts on affordable homes at Dorchester Brewery

Construction has started on a 100% affordable homes development within Dorchester’s Brewery Square complex in Dorset. The community-focused brownfield regeneration scheme is being delivered by award-winning housing association Aster Group and affordable housing specialist AJC Group.

The former Malthouse and Draymasters Brewery on Eldridge Street will be transformed over two years creating 57 much-needed new affordable homes. There will be 32 three and four-bedroom houses, alongside 25 apartments, located in the centre of the affluent market town.

AJC Group acquired the site from Brewery Square Limited with planning in place for an open market scheme, including a provision of 10 homes for affordable housing. In line with the company’s corporate and social responsibility strategy, the partnership it has formed with Aster Group will now see 100% of the scheme delivered for affordable rent and shared ownership, with eco-friendly features.

David Cracklen, Director of AJC Group, said: “We are really looking forward to progressing with the remediation and construction work at this historic site, as there is a desperate need for affordable housing across Dorchester. It is also a privilege to be delivering the first four-bedroom houses within Brewery Square, which has been a 20-year large scale transformation project to revitalise the town centre.

“The well-appointed new homes will benefit from easy access to an array of quality amenities. The development also runs adjacent to Dorchester South station, which offers regular services to the nearby towns, cities and beyond, encouraging residents to adopt more sustainable forms of transport.”

This is AJC Group’s second live development within Dorset with Aster. Comerwicke Fields in Okeford Fitzpaine, near Blandford Forum, will deliver eight homes for social rent and 19 homes through shared ownership.

The 57 Brewery Square houses and apartments will all be built to a high EPC- B rating and will have access to Electric Vehicle charging points throughout the site, with one being allocated for every two houses. There will also be parking available for every dwelling, including secure undercroft parking for the 25 apartments. The houses, 30 of which will be built in a terrace style, and two as cottages, are the first of this kind in the newly developed area. Currently, Brewery Square only has apartments available on site.

Amanda Williams, chief investment officer at Aster, said: “It is exciting to once again be working alongside AJC Group on what is now our second collaboration in as many years. This is a highly sustainable brownfield regeneration project for the county, with buses, trains, shops, schools, and leisure facilities all within walking distance of the central Dorchester site.

“Property prices in this sought-after town are usually very high and so these sensitively designed affordable houses and apartments will make a real difference for local people, helping to strengthen the community, and adding to the vibrancy of the wider Brewery Square development. We’re dedicated to supporting communities and we’re aiming to deliver around 11,200 new homes by 2030.”

Eldridge Street is a short walk from Dorchester South train station. Future residents can expect to travel to London Waterloo in under two hours, with more local journeys to the coast - including Weymouth - only taking 10 minutes. Bournemouth and Christchurch can be reached in under an hour. The A35 is close to the site and leads to A31 and M27, which joins the M3 to the national motorway network.

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