The town’s co-housing group has an enthusiastic thumbs-up from Bridport Town Council for its plans for 34 affordable houses and flats with a common house and car park on land next to Bridport Community Hospital in Mead Lane.

Co-housing spokesman Charles Couzens talked to councillors on the plans committee on Monday.

He said the scheme had been adapated after consultation with planners, councils and local people.

He said: “We have tried to make the design of the scheme as sustainable as possible and to have minimum impact off-site. We have dealt with the issues raised that concern parking and traffic in the management and design.

“We are creating additional parking spaces for use during the day for users of the hospital that we think will relieve some of the pressure on the parking problems in Hospital Lane.

“We have also addressed the concerns about landscape impact which were raised by the AONB to ensure that the development is well down the slope therefore less visible from Allington Hill and invisible from the north and west.

“We have a lot of local residents very interested in the scheme.

“We did a survey which identified 42 households who would be interested in joining the scheme.”

One parking space has been allocated per property and six to hospital users.

The houses will be either shared ownership or rental and the group has been talking to housing associations to take forward the scheme for development and management of 12 of the houses for social housing. Four properties will be offered to NHS workers.

Committee chairman Sarah Williams said there were 42 letters about the scheme – 40 in favour and two against.

Town clerk Bob Gillis said some flooding concerns had been expressed and Allington Parish Council said it didn’t feel those issues had been properly investigated.

But councillors heard that the reed bed capacity was 50 per cent greater than the scheme needed to deal with surface run-off water.

Cllr Williams said: “I have absolutely no objections. I think it is a very commendable scheme and I appreciate all the hard work you have done in the last ten years to get this far and I hope West Dorset lets it sail through without too many hitches.”

Mayor Maggie Ray said she thought the idea was really imaginative.

She said: “I welcome this new way of looking at living together and separately and wish it all the best of luck.”

Cllr Dave Rickard said: “Pioneers in anything are very valuable. The amount of work you put in, a little bit like the Symondsbury Community Land Trust, will make it easier for future schemes of that nature. Unfortunately you have had to do the hard work but other people will benefit.”

He said the groundwork laid by this scheme could be very useful in any Neigbourhood Plan for any large-scale development such as Vearse Farm.