AN outline application for four homes on a ‘gateway’ site east of Fairways off Station Road at West Bay has been approved by Dorset Council.

Another application, for five homes, was refused by the authority last year when it said that the proposal would be “unduly prominent, dominant and incongruous” and would be “harmful to the character and appearance of its surroundings.”

Bridport Town Council objected to both the previous and the new applications on the triangle-shaped plot right at the edge of West Bay.

It claimed the proposal for four homes would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and would be ‘prominently visible’ from the coastal footpath.

Town councillors also argued that the site is outside of the area’s defined development boundary and met none of the criteria for housing on such a site as laid out in the Local Plan.

Other claims made by the town council include its belief that the access will be unsafe and that, depending on the height of the buildings, could be ‘exceptionally harmful’ to the AoNB.

Burton Bradstock parish council objected to the application on similar grounds.

But Dorset Council said that a similar outline proposal for four homes on the site was approved in February 2017 and argued that although the site is outside the defined development area, the proposal could be considered ‘sustainable.’

The authority says that the next stage of the process will take into account the details of scale, design and general visual impact on the AoNB.

Recommending approval a planning report concluded: “As was the case in 2017 overall, officers are satisfied that there are no material harmful effects that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the social, economic and environmental benefits of the development. The proposed development is not within but is adjacent to West Bay which has a defined development boundary and good pedestrian connectivity to the facilities on offer in West Bay and has good public transport connectivity to the facilities on offer to the towns to Bridport and Weymouth to the east. In the light of the current housing land supply position the proposal would make a small but positive contribution to the supply of housing where there are no other obvious and adverse planning impacts to justify a refusal of planning permission.”