DORSET Council say that the garage site off Garfield Avenue in Dorchester had been investigated for possible housing use – but the idea was ruled out.

Dorchester councillor Les Fry had asked for the decision to be reviewed, saying he was disappointed that a request from Dorchester Town Council and the Dorchester Community Land Trust, to take on the site for affordable housing, had been rejected.

It has since led to the Liberal Democrat group saying that if they win a majority on the council in the May elections they will look at all Dorset Council land holdings with a view to releasing as many as possible for affordable homes.

A Dorset Council spokesman said that Cllr Fry has been told that the site had been investigated for housing, but the conclusion reached by officers, was that it was not appropriate.

“This was due to concerns around access for emergency vehicles, and pedestrian and vehicle separation on the highway, meaning planning permission for housing would most likely be refused on safety grounds,” said a spokesperson for the authority.

Access to the site, which has 20 dis-used garages, is currently only possible via a narrow, grassed over track, between two private homes mid-way along the southern side of Garfield Avenue (pictured).

An alternative access, via Maiden Castle Road, would be possible but only if residents there were willing to release part of their gardens to create a new way into the site.

Dorset Council has confirmed that the site is in the process of being sold, subject to final contract, to a private investor for continued use as garaging, something the county town is short of, with garage rentals, when they come up, attracting premium payments.