I was deeply disappointed that Dorset Council rejected the Daniel Taylor Almshouses planning application to convert Chancery House into living accommodation.

The place has been standing empty for two years and neither Dorset Council nor Bridport Town Council has suggested a community use for it.

Anyone who reads this paper knows the demand for Chancery House services had dropped drastically, it had been running at a loss for some considerable time and, despite efforts to keep it going, had come to the end of the line. What better use now than to turn it into desperately needed homes for those in our community with nowhere to live?

The almshouse model of providing homes locally for the poor has a history going back centuries: almshouses were the only “social housing” eons before the state or local authorities even considered the issue. As illustrated recently in your letters pages our social housing safety net has gaping holes and but for such alternatives local people, who for many reasons find themselves homeless, are left unprovided for.

The indifference this application was met with by Dorset Council is staggering: there was no consideration given to the principle underlying it, just some incredibly limp objections which were laid bare and comprehensively addressed by another recent contributor to these columns.

There were some valid issues regarding the space and number of units but for a project that seeks to address an urgent, local need, one which other providers are failing to meet, surely approval could have been conditional on changes to the application?

In the meantime more local people, in dire need of accommodation but who are unable to meet Dorset Council’s criteria for assistance, will become homeless.

John Hartung