A BRIDPORT town centre building, within the conservation area, is to be converted to six flats.

Dorset Council has agreed a change of use application for the Georgian corner building of 11 East Street and 3 Downes Street.

It includes creating six self-contained one-bed flats with a new entrance onto the East Street side of the corner building. The existing shops will remain in place.

Bridport town council welcomed the conversion but said it would like to see some affordable homes, or a contribution to an affordable homes fund. The developers claimed they would be unable to provide affordable homes, or a contribution, without the project becoming unviable.

Town councillors also stressed the need for adequate fire escape routes, a view echoed by a town resident in his comments, but Dorset Council officers say the building will fully comply with safety standards.

Another resident, Mr Richard Barker, said in his comment said that the proposal, with no associated parking, means that six, or more, town centre car park, or on-street parking spaces will be taken up by residents.

The planning application, from a London company, asked for a change of use to the listed 11 East Street to convert  two of the upper floors from offices to residential and to make alterations to the ground floor frontage to East Street to provide a new entrance for the flats. The existing shop fronts will remain in place.

The original application was amended during the consultation process to address conservation and building regulation concerns.

A council officer report concluded that while parking might be desirable additional spaces are not considered essential for the town centre location which is close to both car parks and on-street parking spaces.