PLANS to demolish North Dorset District Council’s former offices in Blandford and build 40 affordable homes are set to be approved.

North Dorset District Council’s planning committee will consider the outline application to redevelop the Nordon site on Tuesday with a recommendation that they back the scheme.

The site was used as offices for the authority until last year when the plans were put forward.

Submitted by Aster Group, the application seeks permission for the demolition of the buildings on the Salisbury Road site with a development of solely affordable homes built in their place.

The majority would be two or three-bedroom houses with four one-bedroom flats and one four-bedroom home.

Eight would be made available on an affordable rented basis with the remaining 32 provided through shared ownership arrangements.

All would be managed by Aster Group.

As the owner of the site, the council received seven offers to redevelop the site ranging from 40 to 56 homes and from 36 to 100 per cent affordable.

Concern has been raised about the loss of the historic former Woodhouse family home, with 22 letters objecting to the plans submitted to the council.

Opposition has also been made by the council’s landscape, tree and conservation officers as well as Blandford Forum Town Council.

Despite this, planning officer Dave Oakhill has recommended that councillors grant outline planning permission when they consider the scheme at a meeting on Tuesday.

In his report to the committee he says: “It is clear that the proposal provides for much-needed affordable housing on a largely unused site within the development boundary of Blandford Forum.

“Additionally, the proposal provides for biodiversity enhancements and financial contributions to local community facilities.

“In my view, the loss of trees on site represents less than substantial harm to the designated heritage asset.”