ALMOST 1,000 new houses will be built in a town in North Dorset.

Redrow Homes Southern Counties has purchased a residential development site in Gillingham and will build 961 new homes.

When complete, the 143-acre (58 hectare) development will also include public open spaces and a local centre, which has the potential to provide a mix of retail, community, health and leisure amenities and will also provide much-needed affordable housing.

James Bainbridge and Steve Morris of Carter Jonas’ Oxford and Bristol Planning & Development teams and Nigel Jones of Chesters Harcourt sold the site in what is believed to be the largest land transaction conducted in Dorset for several years.

Redrow Homes Southern Counties has acquired the land with the benefit of consent for 961 houses as part of the Gillingham Strategic Southern Expansion.

Steve Morris, Partner, Carter Jonas Bristol, commented: “The Gillingham Strategic Southern Expansion is set to become a popular new community and the sale to Redrow is a very positive step in building that community.”

Jack Allan, Land Director at Redrow Homes Southern Counties, also commented: “We are delighted with how smoothly this transaction was completed and we are now looking forward to delivering the much-needed housing in Gillingham.”

A spokesperson for Carter Jonas said: “Gillingham provides a range of facilities and amenities, including supermarkets, shops, education and employment.

“With a mainline railway station on the Exeter to London Waterloo line, it provides good transport rail links.”

The announcement comes after plans were approved for 115 homes in Gillingham as part of the Lodden Lakes development.

The site, to the south-east of the Lakes and close to the Brickfields estate, will link in with an adjoining first phase of around 90 properties.

The Taylor Wimpey development, over 6.75 hectares, will include 28 affordable homes.

A further 80 homes for the area received approval from Dorset Council in February - despite Gillingham Town Council being among the objectors to the Fairfax Acquisitions Common Mead Lane development.

To date, Gillingham’s “southern expansion” has seen more than 2,000 new homes approved for the town.

Last month, Gillingham councillor and portfolio holder for planning David Walsh said residents could be proud of their involvement in helping plan the additional homes for the area.