Concerns have been raised about a new £4.5m homes plan which will replace a 40-year-old sheltered housing complex in Weymouth.

Plans have been submitted to demolish Marchesi House off Radipole Lane at Southill and build 31 homes – houses and blocks of flats – in its place.

Marchesi House residents, a close knit community, are to found suitable alternative housing elsewhere.

Residents previously told the Echo the proposed development, which has been looming for a few years, has left them uncertain about the future.

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA), which is behind the proposals, has been consulting about its plan which it describes as a much-needed, quality development of affordable, rented and shared ownership homes.

The proposed development will consist of 13 one-bedroom flats in two blocks, 12 two-bedroom houses, six three-bedroom houses and 38 parking spaces.

But a raft of objections have been made against the planning application lodged with the borough council, citing concerns such as 'over development' at the site, extra traffic, disruption from building works, and the design and appearance having a 'detrimental impact' on the community.

Concern has also been expressed about the people who may live there including possible recovering addicts and alcoholics. BCHA is a charity which specialises in helping vulnerable people into housing.

In an objection from the nearby Southill Primary School, chairman of governor Pete Barrow says the school is not against redeveloping the site.

But he raises concerns including the safety of children and staff during and after construction, possible flooding, the 'bulk, form, height and design' of the development, and assurances that tenants will be 'good neighbours' and what would happen if there was 'unacceptable behaviour'.

Mr Barrow also calls for community facilities to be investigated in the section 106 agreement.

He adds: "The development is a significant event and has already led to much rumour and speculation. We strongly recommend that you establish a timely and robust means of two way communication with ourselves and the rest of the community."

Meanwhile, resident Mark Probin says in his objection: "Southill isn’t an estate with three storey buildings.

"The design is very out of character."

He adds: "Southill is a mixed community of retired folk as well as families. The estate does not have a doctors, virtually zero bus services and housing the type of people the BCHA are known for is a very big concern to the existing residents."

Comments are invited on the application until December 30.

If planning consent is granted by the borough council, work on the site is expected to start next summer.

'Mixed community development will be excellent addition to the area'

BCHA said the shared ownership properties proposed give local people the opportunity to make a start towards some home ownership for themselves.

Addressing the concerns raised by residents a BCHA spokesman said: We have worked closely with the local authority during the past couple of years to agree design for this much-needed good quality, additional housing for Weymouth.

"Allocations will be agreed with the local authority to ensure appropriate longer term tenancies for individuals and families.

"It will be a fair and robust process to ensure this new development becomes a great place to live and people are fully committed to this local area.

"The planning application submitted provides a range of one, two and three bedroom homes which we believe will create a mixed community development and be an excellent addition to the area.

"The site is on the edge of the current housing in that area and therefore we anticipate limited disruption should the development be approved.

"BCHA always ensures that any developer appointed this and any other development, is signed up to the Considerate Constructors scheme and will look to minimise any disruption during build."

The spokesman added: "BCHA is an organisation that helps people in all situations and needs, with a range of specialist short term and longer term general independent housing options, from rough sleeping and homelessness, through mental health and domestic abuse to long term tenancies for many people in lower paid work.

"The new development is designed to meet the needs of people needing longer term more permanent housing at affordable rents below the market level which are generally unaffordable for people in lower paid employment.

"We do hope that we can get planning approval very soon to get started and provide much needed additional new homes in the area at rents people can afford."