RESIDENTS cheered as plans for a controversial homes scheme on the outskirts of Bridport were rejected once again by councillors.

Bridport Town Council’s planning committee has recommended that West Dorset District Council (WDDC) reject an outline application for the 760-home scheme on Vearse Farm in Symondsbury.

The scheme was refused on the grounds that the proposed access points wouldn’t be safe to deal with the increased amount of traffic, pedestrians and cyclists.

It is the second time that the scheme has been put before the committee, with a previous proposal submitted in August 2015. It was rejected later that year by Bridport planners, and never made it to WDDC’s planning committee for decision.

Councillors argued as they deliberated over the plans at a special meeting on Tuesday (13), where members of the public also voiced their fears over the plans. There was resounding concern over flooding and traffic risks to the area.

Cllr Dave Rickard said: “I feel we’re being put very much between a rock and a hard place.

“We have a failed national planning system that doesn’t address local needs and we’re stuck with that.

“This large site is not popular in the town for lots of reasons, many of which haven’t even been raised today. The scale of this development is unsustainable, it cannot possibly not affect the town.”

Barry Bates, of campaign group Advearse, said: “It is the most significant issue in Bridport’s history.

“The massive development is damaging to the character of Bridport and that we have exposed time and time again to the dangers of flooding and traffic.

“I urge that you let Bridport speak and reject this massive scheme.”

West Dorset planning officer Andrew Martin warned councillors and residents that they were in an ‘untenable’ position with no current objections from any relevant authority, and that rejection could lead to a future costly appeal.

He said: “If we turn up at a public inquiry and we cannot make a case, then we will end up paying huge costs.”

The Environment Agency recently gave the revised plans the thumbs up after deciding the scheme won't place any buildings on areas at high risk of flooding. Developer Hallam Land Management is still waiting on a response from the Dorset County Council highways authority, who previously objected to the scheme.

Cllr Julian Jones didn’t agree with his fellow councillors and argued that the committee should work to ensure that Bridport’s needs were listened to, rather than simply reject the idea.

He said: “What we are here to do is give useful information for West Dorset District Council to help them with the decision. In the real world, this scheme is going to go ahead.”

Speaking after the meeting, former Bridport councillor David Tett said: “I’m very happy.

“It’s a small victory. It has got over one obstacle but there will be many more ahead of us. We live in hope.”

As part of the plans, a care home, a new school and a network of roads would be created at the site which is earmarked for new developments in the local plan.

Councillors are also backing calls to install a roundabout at the ‘’dangerous’ Miles Cross junction in Symondsbury as part of the project, if it were to go ahead.

WDDC are set to consider the plans this August.