District councillors have voted against plans for a new entrance to a property off a 'dangerous' road - but have been warned of a potential legal battle ahead. 

Dozens of residents attended a meeting of West Dorset District Council’s planning committee on Thursday to hear discussions over controversial proposals to improve existing access to Whitmore Coppice near Langton Herring, off the B3157 coast road.

Councillors voted almost unanimously to oppose the proposal, despite it being recommended for approval by planning officers.

The private entrance is currently marked by a wooden gate, with the application proposing that existing access become a separate, formal entrance to the property. It was widely criticised, receiving more than 40 objections online. Many residents fear it would be dangerous and possibly cause further collisions. 

A 37-year-old man from Portishead died in a crash on this stretch of road in July, and another man was seriously injured.

Members of the public spoke out during the meeting to voice their concerns. 

Tim Warren, a Langton Herring resident, said: “I spent seven years in an operational policing division in Dorset, and oversaw numerous investigations of road collisions.

“Two fatal collisions have occurred just metres away from this entrance. 

“The council should move towards improving road safety and not introducing additional hazards.”

Stuart Bainbridge, who lives in Portesham, said: “This will endanger the lives of the two to three thousand road users who drive between this spot every day. 

“It is an area of road known by locals as ‘the killing zone’. It’s surely insanity that a car waiting to turn right off that road into the Coppice can be considered safe.”

Residents also claimed that they had never seen that particular entrance point used for vehicular access. 

It was also noted that applicant Tony Beeson already has access to other entrances leading to the property. He responded to concerns that the coast road entrance would endanger road users, saying: "My improved access will serve just one private dwelling." 

Cllr Thomas Bartlett, who sits on the planning committee and represents the Chickerell and Chesil Bank ward on West Dorset District Council, said: "In February, cameras caught 92 drivers speeding along this road. The fastest speed recorded by a motorcyclist was 110mph. 

"It is totally unnecessary as two other access points already exist."

A spokesman for Dorset County Council Highways said it found no reason to object to the proposal and strongly urged the committee to follow recommendations put forward by officers or risk facing a costly appeal process. 

However, eight councillors voted to refuse the application on the grounds that it would have a severe detrimental effect on road safety and would lead to unnecessary removal of hedgerow. One councillor abstained from voting. 

It is not clear at this stage whether Mr Beeson plans to appeal the decision.