COUNCILLORS have given permission for part of a trading estate to be demolished to make way for housing estate despite the plans being labelled a "recipe for chaos".

Hayward and Co received outline planning permission to to demolish part of St Michael’s Trading Estate in Bridport to build 91 new homes, and refurbish the remainder of the estate.

The developers are set to offer 22 homes, 24 per cent of the scheme, as affordable housing.

Speaking at last week's West Dorset District Council planning committee meeting, officer Andrew Martin, said: "It has the potential to create something of real worth for Bridport."

At a packed meeting, 31 speakers had their say on the proposals - most of whom were objecting to the plans.

Richard Payne-Withers, who runs the The Alleyways antique centre on the estate, said it would "spoil and rip the heart out of the town".

He added: "You approve this and you are going to add to the problems of traffic in the centre of Bridport.

"Anybody who goes to Bridport will know that parking is an absolute nightmare on market days."

Leslie Archibald, who described the estate as being in a "disgraceful condition" told the meeting that "future generations will not forgive us" if permission was granted.

David Tett, a former ward councillor, spoke out in support of the plans.

He said: "The proposals are a vast improvement of those in 2012.

"This has been rumbling on for the best part of 20 years. It's about time it's put to bed."

Robert Mühl, managing director of Ocean Bathrooms on the estate, also gave his backing to the scheme.

He said: "Our business has expanded several times and we have had the full support of the Haywards estate.

"The estate needs to change for the future - change is inevitable.

"If this doesn't go ahead, the family will get fed up and it will be sold to a big player who will not take into account the needs of the tenants."

Cllr Ros Kayes said the plans were "a recipe for chaos" that will "totally alter the character of the estate"

She added: "It will turn it into Poundbury and we don't want Poundbury in Bridport."

The developers had an opportunity to speak before councillors made their decision. Martin Ridley said the estate "must be ready for the future" while Clive Hayward said the company was keen to "breathe life into the estate" and "move forward without further delay".

Councillors approved the three separate applications, which had been recommended for approval by officers.

Cllr Ian Gardner, West Dorset District Council’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “We’re satisfied that we have been able to work with the applicant and reach agreement on the plans for St Michael's Trading Estate.

“Once completed, this development will provide a good mix of open market housing, affordable housing and employment space.”

Decision a 'victory for the town'

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

THE OWNERS of St Michael's Trading Estate have labelled the green light for their redevelopment plans "a victory for the town" and urged the community to work alongside them.

Martin Ridley, from Hayward and Co, said he hoped to maintain the variety of businesses which currently operate on the estate.

He said: "The first thing to say is that this is not a victory for Hayward and Co but it is a victory for our tenants, who have had ten years of uncertainty surrounding the future of the estate, and it is a victory for the town and the Bridport community. 

"We are only too aware that we are not just submitting yet another planning application but seeking permission to move forward with a comprehensive scheme that will deliver significant improvements to the environment, attractive affordable and open market housing, much needed regeneration of the estate but most importantly a better, safer and more secure environment for our tenants." 

He added: "We very much hope the community, including those who have been objecting to our plans over the years, will now work alongside us and help us deliver something special for Bridport, a scheme and a project that will add to the unique identity and character of the town.

"We would ask in particular that the councillors and officers of Bridport Town Council will recognise the many benefits of our scheme and work with us to help deliver them to the town."