FURTHER changes are being proposed to the planned re-development of the former mental health team offices in Albert Road, Dorchester.

The scheme has brought criticism from neighbours who say it will add to parking problems in the area. Some are also unhappy about a modern extension to the building and fear that trees in the grounds will be damaged.

Canterbury Properties want to change the use of 6 Albert Road to create four additional apartments and to erect a link building and new apartment block for 5 further apartments alongside the existing building.

A modified application, which is likely to be decided by a Dorset Council planning officer, rather than a planning committee, asks for the demolition of a side extension and a first floor glazed window together with changes to the original access to the site, including the loss of one car parking space, to give one space for each apartment.

The building, which is on the corner with Cornwall Road, opposite the Borough Gardens used to house the area's community mental health team.

The full planning application involves retaining the existing two bedroom apartment on the second floor of the existing building; a change of use of the ground and first floor office accommodation in the existing building by conversion into four apartments and the erection of a new, two storey building incorporating the five additional apartments with a link between the old and new buildings.

When Dorchester town councillors discussed proposals for the site last year they were told that the additional homes could cause parking problems in the area because it was believed that having just one parking space per apartment would not be adequate forcing new residents to find space in the nearby roads.

Neighbours told the town council, which only has an advisory role, that parking is already in short supply.

There was also concerns over the loss of the garden, the setting of the existing house, the risk to protected trees in the grounds and the appearance of the proposed link between the existing building and the new property.

The County Archaeologist has asked for an archaeological examination of the site before building work start as a Roman burial ground is known to be in the area.

Neighbour Keith Wilson said at the time that if all the apartments were filled to capacity there could be 38 new residents on the site, many having two cars per apartment which would result in problems trying to park on the streets of the area.

He said when the houses were built they were designed to fit in with the Borough Gardens. He said if the new building was allowed it would be the first alteration to the historic homes in the area since the 1870s. He described the design as “unsightly.”

Dorchester Civic Society had written to say that the scheme would be an over development of the plot and expressed worries about the risk to the archaeology of the area and trees on the site. They say the conversion of the existing building is acceptable, but opposed the new block.

Comments on the modifications to the plan have to be received by Dorset Council by May 10.