DEVELOPERS are set to be told to go back to the drawing board for plans to build 33 homes – as figures reveal hundreds of people in Bridport are in need of affordable homes.

The site on land next to Watton Park already has outline planning permission – meaning the principle of developing the site has been established.

But now, proposals for the appearance, layout and scale of the scheme are set to go before district councillors – and officers have recommended they don’t grant permission.

A number of residents have objected to the proposal, along with Bridport Town Council and Bridport Environment Group.

Symondsbury Parish Council have supported the plans, and Highways and Natural England have confirmed they have no objection.

West Dorset District Council’s highways team were also asked to comment and said that, as of September, there are 414 applicants on the housing register with a connection to Bridport. Across West Dorset, more than 1,550 households are registered as in need of affordable housing.

The housing officer concluded: “The affordable housing provided on this site will assist in meeting an identified need. However there is currently a proposed under provision and an additional unit should be provided.”

Research shows 130 new affordable homes need to be built every year to meet the need across the region.

But concerns remain over the impact of the Watton Park proposals on the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Bridport Town Council said the scale and heights of some of the homes would have a ‘detrimental impact’ on the landscape.

The Dorset AONB landscape planning officer agreed, describing the plans as ‘inappropriate’.

The Bridport Environment Group added: “[We] share the concerns of the AONB and Landscape officers about the height, scale and density of the three-storey buildings to the west of the site, and concerns about concerns about excessive areas of hard surfacing, which it is considered will have a detrimental impact on the local landscape character, and a detrimental visual impact on the AONB.”

Developers Baker Estates said they had carried out extensive consultation with residents, and amended the plans to minimise the impact.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the plans adds: “The area around the site is simply seen as part of the urban fringe rising towards Skilling Head beyond the flat expanse of the Brit Valley. The site makes a barely perceptible contribution to these views and is not perceived as part of the wider AONB outside the urban area.”

West Dorset District Council’s planning committee will meet to discuss the plans at South Walks House in Dorchester on Thursday, January 18.