DORSET Council has been criticised for not consulting over changes to a legal agreement for 500 homes at Littlemoor.

Both Bincombe parish council and Weymouth Town Council says they were not asked for their views over ‘technical’ changes to the agreement for the housing scheme north of Littlemoor Road.

But planning officers say there was no need to have consulted over the minor alteration to the legal agreement relating to an area of land earmarked for employment use, including a new hotel, car showrooms and a residential care home. The change is said to refer to less than 1 per cent of the total of 7.9 hectares.

Ward councillor Roland Tarr said he had only discovered the proposed change when he happened to read through the papers for the area planning committee at the weekend, a committee he is not a member of. Parish councillor Graham Brant said he believed there was a statutory obligation for Dorset Council to consult on any proposed changes to the scheme – no matter how small.

Concern was also expressed about the proposed changes by Richard Nicholls from the West Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. He said that any alteration at all, which might have an effect on the important Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty needed to be closely scrutinised.

Cllr Brant told the area planning meeting that he still believed the 500-home scheme was not in the public interest – claiming that the nearby roads were often blocked by queuing cars, even before the scheme was built.

“There is nothing in any planning application to improve the road system in the area. We can’t keep on adding to the burden on our roads, which this scheme will certainly do,” he said.

But planning officer Hamish Laird say that outline consent had already been given for the scheme and that all the application sought was a minor change to the S106 agreement, “a technicality”, as he described it.

“Everything else has been looked at before. This is a clarification of details – there are no fundamental changes at all,” he said.

The committee agreed the change to the agreement by a majority vote with Littlemoor councillor Louie O’Leary the only vote against.