What has new development ever done for us?
Little Tommy Mee was the first new arrival at Lorton Park in Weymouth…almost quite literally.
He was the first baby to be born to a family at the development, arriving just a week after mum Sadie McAuley, dad Ed and big sister Emily moved into their home
Tommy – now 18 months old – enjoys playing in his family’s garden and seeing extended family who live close by.
“It was ideal as we moved in the week before Tommy arrived and we did not have to do anything,” says mum Sadie.
“We didn’t have to decorate, just move in. There are other families with children at Lorton Park and I have family nearby in Upwey so it is great.”
Sadie, who grew up in Upwey, and Ed are both local and attended Wey Valley School in Weymouth.
Ed, who works at FGP Systems, says: “We lived in the Preston area of Weymouth before but this is more of a family home.
“We got to choose the paint, doors, sockets, underfloor heating and the various fittings.
“We love the back garden with its trees and nature garden, which really sold the property to us.”
Lorton Park has grown alongside Tommy and Emily, now two and a half. Work has also started on the fourth and final phase. This will result in a total of 46 properties on the site by the time construction is finished in 2020.
It is the perfect example showing how it is possible to build high quality new family homes – with residents including local people – while providing a significant boost for the local economy.
At Lorton Park this is to the tune of £8m for the local supply chain, with an overall gross development value of £18m.
Opening Doors is keen to encourage construction of homes of all kinds – open market, affordable, for rent and purchase – to create a healthy mix of housing.
It is also keen to see more local SME housebuilders and developers of the kind behind Lorton Park to start projects in the area.
Lorton Park, which is set against the parkland of the Old Rectory, is described as ‘constructed and finished to the highest standards and furnished with the very best quality fixtures and fittings’.
The company behind the development is Koori Ltd, which is a local firm.
It has used local materials – including Purbeck Stone, Portland Stone and Contessa slate from Portland – and aims to be flexible in meeting buyers’ bespoke requirements.
The focus on ecology at the site includes bat boxes, a wild flower meadow, landscaping with trees and hedges as well as the retention of established trees.
The scheme also includes allotments, with more open space to be provided. Improvements to storm drains help alleviate local flooding as part of the development.
Lorton Park also supports the local community with a contribution to the council’s schools fund of around £2,200 per home.
There is a mix of different types of properties in different styles across Lorton Park ranging in size from two to five bedrooms.
Koori says Lorton Park is also the first development site to have Fibre to Property (FTTP) in Weymouth, delivering ultra-fast and stable fibre optic broadband wth upload speeds of up to 300Mbps.
Julia Ridgway moved from Affpuddle to a three-bedroom house at Lorton Park with one of her sons and Poppy the dog.
She said: “I feel very happy here.
“There is a good mix of people and I’ve met all of the neighbours. Everyone is very friendly. You can walk straight up the road into the nature reserve but I also have a good sized garden and patio for outdoor living.
“Lorton Park is a fantastic development with real attention to detail with little bits of luxury you have not asked for. It is a quality development and I would recommend it.”
Crucially, Koori is using predominately local suppliers and subcontractors. The agents are Goadsby and Symonds & Sampson.
There are between 30 to 40 tradesmen working on the site, including three apprentices who are attending Weymouth College.
Suppliers and associates include AKI Ltd, Thrive Architects, Virtual Vision, Dan Roads Photography, Dorset Digital Solutions, Sprint Signs, Read Woodruff Chartered Accountants, Aspect Tree Consultancy, W Ronald Landscapes, Remarkable Carpets and Flooring, Classic Folios, CG Roofing and Leadwork, Richardson Plumbing & Gas Ltd, Ocean Bathrooms, Scard & McCarthy Steelworks Ltd, Tristan G Murless Electrical Contractors, New Image, and Lara Jane Thorpe Photography.
All but one house in the third phase have been sold and others are already being reserved off plan in the fourth phase.
Prices start at £200,000, with a two-bedroom terrace typically at £240,000. Some of the homes have been bought through the Government-based Help to Buy scheme, and the development is LABC registered.
Some 15 affordable homes are also being provided off the site by Hardye Housing Limited, a sister company of Koori Ltd – providing benefits for the community from development of this kind. Each property is purchased by Koori Ltd then fully refurbished throughout, prior to the new resident moving in.
It provides and manages the homes to provide much needed affordable housing for people in the locality. Indeed two of the properties neighbour Lorton Park.
Whilst criticisms of large-scale developments persist in some quarters, Lorton Park is helping to show the real way in which local firms can help make a difference. By developing smaller plots and at the same time, creating good quality family homes, this approach makes a significant economic, environmental and social impact within the area.