Plans to build retirement accommodation on the site of a former school have been given the go-ahead.

McCarthy & Stone's proposals for 38 apartments on the former Mountjoy School site on Flood Lane, Bridport, were discussed by Dorset Council's planning committee this afternoon and approved.

The company will pay the council a £300k contribution towards affordable homes elsewhere.

Bridport Town Council, and others, have vehemently objected to the plans since they were first submitted last year, claiming there should be affordable units within the development and that local need should be prioritised.

Town councillors have consistently raised concerns over the use of the brownfield site for retirement living when, they have stressed, there is a lack of affordable housing for young people and families in 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.

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

Planning officers recommended accepting the application, saying the site is suitable for the use, that there will not be any significant harm to neighbouring properties and there are no ‘material considerations’ which warrant refusal.

Access to the site would be off Flood Lane with car parking to the rear of the building.

The town council has previously called on Dorset Council, as the site owner, 'to take the opportunity to be creative in developing a council-led initiative to address the identified housing need in Bridport,' rather than accept the McCarthy & Stone proposals for the site.