A site near the town centre is being looked at again for the development of affordable housing units.

Lyme Regis Community Land Trust (CLT) is looking into building units on land in the Woodmead Halls car park, owned by Lyme Regis Town Council, something it previously looked at, but it never came to fruition due to planning issues.

The CLT’s idea is to commission a feasibility study by experts in the field of CLTs and affordable housing to look at a way of building units on the grass area. The cost of which will be covered by the CLT.

Lyme Regis CLT has already built 15 affordable homes at Garmans Field and attended a recent town council strategy and finance committee meeting to ask for the council’s permission in carrying out a feasibility study.

Keith Jenkins, chairman of Lyme Regis CLT, said: “There is a massive need for affordable housing for local people in Lyme Regis. This was evidenced by the fact that when our 15 units at the top of the hill were up for bids, of the 15 units, 258 bids turned up. Some considerable sifting took place and we eventually got the number down to 45, an over subscription of 300 per cent.

“That need still remains and with this in mind, we have come here to ask the council to give us permission to undertake a feasibility study at the Woodmead Halls car park area.”

Lorna Jenkins, secretary of the CLT, explained they are looking at land owned by the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and ambulance service which is not currently used.

As a former councillor she said she understood what the council’s concerns would be.

“Councillors will recall previous efforts 10 years ago to place affordable housing at Woodmead became unwieldy and planners at West Dorset [District Council] warned they would not be accepted. The CLT has dumped those schemes and started again with a clean slate,” she said.

“We spoke to the ambulance and Dorset fire brigade, which owns the green land behind the emergency services centre, land not currently used by either service. They are fully behind our idea and have agreed to make that land available to us if needed for affordable housing.

“We are now thinking of compact maisonette/studio flat type housing for singles and couples seeking one-bedroom accommodation, not families and possibly without car parking. There are currently 38 eligible applicants for this site alone on the Dorset Council housing list.

“We know that housing associations will rehouse any tenants with babies and small children to more suitable accommodation elsewhere in the town.

“We know the income from car parking is essential to the income for the council and we envisage no loss of parking spaces and hope there may even be an increase.

“We are asking for your blessing for this feasibility study, not to commit any further at this time.”

However, Cllr Michaela Ellis had doubts that no parking would be lost to the development.

She said: “The big issue is the car parking spaces that could possibly be lost because I do not believe that we would benefit from any spaces from it. We would lose out and we need every parking space in this town for our residents and visitors.”

Cllr John Broom proposed that the council allow Lyme Regis CLT to undertake a feasibility study, which was approved.