PLANS for an £8million waste management facility in Bridport have been approved.

The proposal for the former Broomhills Nursery site was backed by Dorset County Council’s planning committee today, despite it hearing strong concerns from local residents.

Members were told that the site at Broomhills was brought forward after a 12 year search that saw 32 potential locations tested.

A shortlist of seven sites was produced, all of which impacted on the surrounding Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), but the Broomhills site was deemed to have the least impact.

Planning officer Chris Stokes told the committee that the Highways Agency was ‘entirely satisfied’ with the road safety of the proposed controlled junction on the A35 and said it did not believe it would have a major impact in terms of congestion.

He said: “They don’t believe there is an issue here for the capacity of the road network.”

Mr Stokes added that the Environment Agency was also satisfied with the drainage proposals for the site in the application submitted by the Dorset Waste Partnership.

Chairman of the Bridport and District Tourism Association Scott Condliffe told the meeting that tourism was worth around £50m to Bridport and the surrounding area and the proposed scheme risked having a major negative impact on the visitor experience.

He said: “This application will make a road which is at capacity in the summer much worse.

“Choked roads around Bridport will have a major economic impact.

“Tourists having experienced slow traffic will simply choose to go somewhere else.

“Why should a small number of vehicles accessing the waste transfer facility have such a disproportionate impact on the other thousands of road users on the A35?”

The committee was also told Bridport Town Council also had ‘serious concerns’ about the impact of the proposal on the A35 and wanted to see the speed limit reduced to 40mph, rather than the 50mph being proposed.

Local councillor Ros Kayes said she was concerned about the details of the scheme, particularly in relation to the junction.

She said: “My concern is we don’t produce a sub standard design in order to save costs, at the expense of traffic flow and at the expense of safety.”

Fellow local member Ronald Coatsworth said he had ‘always been in favour’ of the Broomhills site.

He added: “I don’t think it’s the perfect answer but I think it’s the only answer we’ve got.”

The committee voted to approve the application subject to conditions, with four members voting in favour, three against and two abstentions.

Members also agreed to amend one condition to stipulate that work at the waste management centre must cease by 7pm, rather than 9pm as originally proposed.