Housing association Aster Group has announced plans to build 106 new homes and retail units in Bargates after exchanging contracts with Christchurch Borough Council this week.

Aster Group will be consulting with Christchurch residents and business owners to hear their thoughts on plans for the scheme, with proposals expected to be submitted to the council in Spring.

Early proposals for the 143,000 sq. ft. scheme - the site of the former magistrates’ court and police station, car parks and disused land – are set to include 106 new one- and two-bed flats as well as two- and three-bed family homes for a mixture of affordable rent, shared ownership and open-market sale. Plans are also set to include over 13,000 sq ft of new retail space and 54 retirement flats available under a mix of affordable tenures and open-market sale.

Christchurch Borough Council in partnership with vendors Dorset County Council, Dorset Police and the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen Trust, supported by Colliers International and Goadsby selected Aster Group as the preferred bidder for the site following a competitive tender process. The council recognised its commitment to providing homes that suit the need of the local community.

Aster Group has also appointed Christchurch-based architecture firm Aspire to design the scheme, following a competitive tender process

Lindsey Aldington, strategic development manager at Aster Group, said: “This is a landmark opportunity for Christchurch and we’re keen for as many people to get involved in shaping the plans as possible. With input from residents and business owners we can create a new area for the community to enjoy, connect Bargates to the main high street and bring much-needed new quality and affordable homes to the area.

“There is currently a lack of homes - in Christchurch and across the South West - that are both suitable and affordable, particularly for young families. By offering a range of different homes across a variety of tenures, this development will help support the growth and long-term prosperity of the town.”

Cllr David Flagg, Leader of Christchurch Borough Council said “I’m pleased that we are a step closer to seeing this central location in Christchurch regenerated. This is a significant milestone and I would like to thank all those involved in helping us get to this point. I’m looking forward to seeing the plans for the area and hope that we can continue working together to ensure we revitalise and improve this part of the town.”