NINE months after councillors refused plans to develop the “missing jigsaw piece” of Milborne St Andrew, the same scheme has been approved.

Plans to build 25 homes on land off Huntley Down were rejected by North Dorset District Council in January – the same day as an appeal for a larger development of the site was thrown out.

But Dorset Council planning officers said points raised by the planning inspector in the case meant the smaller scheme should be reconsidered.

A report published ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the northern area planning committee said the development would provide “substantial benefits” while not conflicting with policy.

“Planning applications for development on land not allocated in the neighbourhood plan need to be considered on their merits and having regard to the broad presumption in favour of sustainable development,” the report by Robert Lennis said.

“In the context, he considered that the proposal would not harm the character of the landscape or undermine the neighbourhood plan.”

He said the proposed contribution of 11 affordable homes – more than the council requires – alongside a new park area outweighed the harm of developing the land.

But concerns had been raised by some villagers that other developments in the pipeline for the village meant this scheme was not required.

Speaking on Tuesday, Steve Bulley said: “There are three other sites available in the village and this seems to be getting undue prominence.

“The inspector in no way said that he thought the proposed 25 homes would be any more acceptable than 30.”

Concerns were also raised that the scheme went against the village’s new neighbourhood plan which only passed a referendum in August.

However, fellow resident Richard Lock said the development would be a boost for the future of the village.

Richard Lock said: “I have heard several times that the affordable housing has been described as ‘ghetto-like’ or an enclave, in fact there are several of these in the village and their residents have made a positive contribution.

“Many community facilities are under threat because we are not getting new people in.”

Support for the development was echoed by councillors who voted by six to four to grant planning permission.

Councillor Carole Jones said: “This land has been out of use for 20 years and it’s such a waste.

“It gives no community benefits and this could bring it back into a good community use.

“I feel the mix of housing is right and the benefits far outweigh anything negative.”