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Affordable housing boost for Beaminster

A development of 38 homes in Beaminster is set to go ahead as a wholly affordable scheme following a Dorset Council meeting.

Aster Group is building the properties on the landmark former Clipper Tea site, on the north side of Broadwindsor Rd, following the relocation of the business to the south side of the road.

Members of the Dorset Council’s western and southern planning committee approved a modification to the Section 106 agreement for the scheme’s existing planning permission.

Aster applied for the change – to remove a condition stipulating that buyers of shared ownership properties on the site must have a local connection – to ensure it would get Government funding for properties. Committee members delegated authority to the council’s head of planning to modify the agreement.

Cllr David Walsh, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “Agreeing to this modification will ensure that all homes on this site are classified as affordable rather than just 35 per cent as required under planning policies.

“The committee accepted the need to make this site viable with the maximum funding possible from Homes England and the benefits a wholly affordable development would bring.”

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “There are many people, especially young families, struggling to get into a home of their own especially in our rural towns and villages.

“The council’s Opening Doors programme exists to help these types of people and I look forward to seeing work start in Beaminster.”

The Government has stated that it will not provide funding for shared ownership properties under its Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme 2016- 2021 if prioritisation or eligibility criteria are applied.

Amanda Williams, Group development director from Aster Group, said: “We’re delighted to  be able to progress this site as a wholly affordable scheme and help more people in the community. It’s not only fantastic news for all of Beaminster, but most importantly, for local families and those in vital need of affordable housing.

“We look forward to seeing the site develop and will work closely with the council and Opening Doors to ensure local people are fully aware of the properties available at the site.”