COUNCILLORS have agreed to withdraw one of their reasons for objecting to redevelop Weymouth Football Stadium as housing.

West Dorset District Council refused an application by the Wessex Delivery LLP to redevelop the stadium site with up to 170 houses in October last year.

The reasons for refusal included the fact that the site proposed residential development outside the existing development boundary, the loss of playing fields with no firm alternative and the need for a section 106 agreement or other form of undertaking to guarantee affordable housing and local amenity contributions.

The decision to refuse the application was appealed and will now be considered by an independent planning inspector.

However, before that happens members of the council's development control committee have agreed to withdraw the first reason for refusal.

Planning officer Andrew Martin told councillors that because the council now recognised the need for a larger housing supply in the coming years after carrying out further work on its proposed local plan, it could not justify a refusal on the grounds that it did not need to develop outside existing boundaries.

He said: “At that time our view was we didn't need to breach the development boundary in order to reach housing numbers, that situation has clearly changed.”

Mr Martin said that the council's chances of defending this reason for refusal at appeal were nonexistent.

He said: “To progress that particular reason we would stand no chance at all of defending that one at appeal.”

Mr Martin said that if a satisfactory section 106 agreement could be drawn up with the developers that third reason for refusal could also be withdrawn, leaving only the concern about the loss of playing fields with no firm alternative provision.

The councils agreed to withdraw the first reason for refusal and to inform the Planning Inspectorate and appellant of the decision.