AN affordable homes project has been approved for Drimpton.

It will see 15 properties built off Netherhay Lane by the Broadwindsor Group Parish Community Land Trust to help local people stay in the area.

There had been opposition to the scheme with concerns about road safety and claims that the project would be better in a larger community, but Dorset Council’s area planning committee has unanimously approved the scheme.

The proposal includes an alternative pedestrian route to reach the village centre avoiding Netherhay Lane with a new footpath from the site linking into an existing right of way.

The site, currently pasture, is to the west of Drimpton, north of the B3162 Chard Road and on the eastern side of Netherhay Lane. It will have its own small sewage treatment works on the edge of the site.

All of the proposed homes will be two storey apart from a semi-detached pair of bungalows to the south. All are planned to be fitted with solar panels and/or an air source heat pump. Bird and bat boxes are proposed across the site with a landscaping scheme which should encourage nature.

Area planning committee chair Cllr Simon Christopher temporarily stepped down from running the meeting to speak in favour of the scheme as the local councillor.

He said the project was supported by the parish council, the neighbourhood plan and the Local Plan and had managed to create a good-looking scheme with affordable properties ranging from bungalows to flats.

But he did acknowledge that both members of the public and parish councillors had widely differing views on the proposal.

Dealing with traffic issues he said that, like many West Dorset communities, the lanes were winding and usually did not have pavements, but that had not stopped other community housing projects in other villages.

Proposing the development go ahead Cllr Nick Ireland said that without, affordable, housing communities would die: “These are all 100 per cent affordable, in perpetuity, which means they can’t be sold, they can’t be used for holiday lets…this is a typical West Dorset village and I’m acutely aware that if you don’t have development the villages will die.

“We don’t need second homes, we don’t need holiday lets – what we need is affordable housing, sustainable housing, for local people who can live and work locally…

“It’s commendable. It’s what we should be doing in lots of other places.”

The site will have two 1-bed properties for two people; four 1 bed 2 person flats; five 2 bed 4 person houses; three 3 bed 5 person units and one 3 bed 6 person unit.

Parking will be off-road either alongside the relevant dwelling or off the road frontage.

The four flats would each have a private outside space, as well as a communal space.