Magna Housing has a 10-year vision to create great homes together. To do this, they are looking to buy land in Dorchester, Bridport, Sherborne and Weymouth to deliver affordable housing for our communities.

They have recently secured planning permission to build on land in Halstock, purchased from Nigel and Audrey Clarke who live in the village, having worked closely with the Parish Council and community on identifying local housing needs.

Audrey was born in Halstock and grew up in a council house just around the corner from where her and Nigel now live. Audrey said: “I met Nigel in the sixties and after we married we moved into a house in the village together. Our children, Michelle and Marcus, were raised there, attending Halstock School and having the same headmaster as myself!”

New social housing was built in the early nineties at Bullbridge Mead for local people in need of a home of their own. Both of Audrey’s children secured a tenancy for their own homes and still remain in the village now.

Audrey continued: “Having been tenants of Magna Housing since the late eighties, we felt that their positive attitude toward their tenants was evident immediately and they still have the same ethic today. With this in mind, when one of our grandchildren said that they would like a house and to remain in the village, we sought to find out what the possibility/probability of them getting a house here was. We found out that there were eleven people on the housing register wanting to live in Halstock.

“Nigel and myself thought it would be great if, like us, other youngsters could get a foot on the property ladder and continue living in this lovely village. So, we approached Magna, amongst others, to see if they were interested in acquiring a small parcel of land to develop it. Magna’s enthusiasm was evident immediately and their attitude toward us and the project clinched the deal.”

Planning permission was granted in August for Magna to build eight new homes on the site. Six will be for social rent and two will be shared ownership homes. It is one of seven modular sites that Magna are building across the county and they will be Magna’s first ‘all electric’ modular homes.

Modular homes are built off site in a factory-controlled setting, making them more cost-effective to maintain and quicker to construct; the homes also generate less waste and Magna’s sustainable design priorities mean their modular homes have a lower carbon footprint in use than most traditional brick houses, making them a sustainable housing solution. It’s an exciting step forward for the future of housing.

Louise Davidson, Development Manager at Magna, said: “We are committed to building new homes where people choose to live, that are affordable and meet the needs of the community. We’re therefore delighted to have secured this land and the planning permissions needed to create these new homes. Being a rural site, the ecology and environment is particularly important to us and the community. We’re really excited about these being the most sustainable homes we are delivering at the moment, and we’re putting a lot of work into creating great habitats for wildlife too.”

The development will include provisions for bats, birds and bees. Hedgehog holes will be installed in any solid fencing, and a hedge which is home to dormice will be relocated and provide new nesting boxes for them. In addition, the local environment will benefit from new native hedges, trees and planting from the ‘RHS Plants for Pollinators’ list.

Louise added: “Magna is committed to maintaining and enhancing the environment where we develop. We want to be able to provide new and affordable homes like this in other local communities as well as in Dorset’s major towns. To do this, we need to buy more land. We’d really like the opportunity to talk to anyone who has a parcel of land and are thinking of selling.”