COUNCILLORS are refusing to budge over plans which could see a former school site developed into retirement accommodation.

Amended plans for the former Mountjoy School site on Flood Lane, Bridport, have been submitted to Bridport Town Council.

While they largely concern highways issues, councillors objected due to the fact they do not address the town council’s previous comments.

Housebuilder McCarthy and Stone is hoping to build 42 one and two-bedroom apartments and 31 on-site car parking spaces on the site, but councillors have previously raised concerns that no affordable element is included in the proposed development and requested an equivalent contribution to the affordable housing fund be sought.

They have questioned the need for the development, saying it had not been properly demonstrated given that other existing similar developments are not yet fully occupied, and have said the proposed development would not meet the needs of local residents and would lead to over-development of the site as the building is too high, at three storeys, and out-of-keeping with the surrounding area.

Speaking at a meeting of Bridport Town Council’s planning committee last week, Cllr Dave Rickard said: “This is local authority land. There is a shortage of local authority available for low cost schemes. It’s a disgrace. They [the county council] have been hatching this for five or more years, not telling anyone. This should have been offered up to an affordable housing company.”

McCarthy and Stone argues there is a considerable need, both locally and nationally, for accommodation for older people and says the scheme will contribute to the overall housing needs of Bridport.

The site, which is currently empty, was used by Mountjoy until 2012, when it relocated to new state-of-the-art premises in Beaminster.

Residents have previously claimed the site is an 'eyesore' and giving visitors a bad impression of Bridport.