An application for five homes has been labelled a 'cynical, urbanising and gentrifying' re-interpretation of an originally-approved outline plan.

Bridport Town Council has strongly objected to proposals for five houses on land east of Fairways at East Cliff, West Bay.

Outline permission was given, it said, on the basis of four houses, all two storeys high, with two highway access points. The latest application seeks to build five larger dwellings, more densely situated, each with their own highway access,and all three storeys high.

Councillors felt the massing of the proposed houses would have an 'unacceptable, adverse impact' on the AONB and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site within which they would sit, and on a key gateway to West Bay.

This, they said, is in direct contravention of Local Plan policies. The proposed development would be prominently visible from popular footpaths and would have a 'detrimental' impact on views from these paths.

They also said the application met none of the criteria set out in part of the Local Plan. In particular, any development 'should prioritise affordable housing over open market housing'. It should also meet local need, have character, scale and design appropriate to the location, and protect the affordable status of housing, according to the plan.

Councillors felt the West Bay development met none of these criteria and the public interest test was not met.

They drew attention to the local Housing Needs Assessment published in March 2019, which shows a 'clear and overriding need' for affordable rented one and two bedroom properties.

The application, they felt, 'makes no effort to provide for sustainable transport modes, and the five access points - directly onto an at times busy narrow road - are unsafe. There is no footpath provided and no room to accommodate one. These matters have clearly not been properly considered by the Dorset Council Highways Department.'

The application, according to the town council, disregarded the comments of the landscape officer and the Dorset AONB team in respect of the outline application. The impact on the Bridport Conservation Area and the AONB were considered significant, and councillors felt these impacts would be greater with the increased heights, density and number of houses if given the go-ahead.

Since the outline permission was granted, Dorset Council has declared a climate emergency - and the town council felt the application had 'nothing to offer in this regard'.

The town council said no attempt had been made to justify the development as ‘exceptional circumstances’ for development with the AONB, as required by Paragraph 172 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

'This application is a cynical, urbanising and gentrifying re-interpretation of the originally approved outline permission and should be resisted', councillors said.