A 40-HOME affordable scheme is expected to be built on the site of the former North Dorset district council offices at Norden, Blandford.

The application comes from the Aster Group with the site already having outline permission for housing use.

Council planning officers say using the site for housing is a good use of the land. It lies within the town conservation area and is within walking distance of the town centre.

Aster is proposing four one-bed flats, 15 two-bed houses, 20 three-bed and one four bed.

The site will be developed, if consent is given, by demolishing the converted main Edwardian building, a lodge building and former stables, along with several temporary buildings which have been added to the site by the former council over the past 30 years.

Blandford Town Council has objected to the re-development of the site because of the need to demolish the main building. It is also concerned about the loss of some trees, the density of the development and the lack of a play area.

A petition, with more than 2,000 signatures, collected by the Blandford and District Civic Society, raises similar concerns.

A report to next Tuesday's planning committee says officers have negotiated changes to the design of many of the houses to ensure the scheme fits in with the conservation area.

In recommending the committee approves the details an officer report say: “There is currently a lack of a five year housing land supply in the North Dorset area.

"This proposal would provide much needed housing, including affordable housing, in a sustainable location. This weighs strongly in favour of the proposal.

"In view of the lack of any harm to heritage through the reserved matters application, officers consider that the proposal complies with all relevant policy.”