FORMER pigeon aviaries are to have a new use as twelve one-bed homes.

The buildings are on the site of a former professional racing pigeon stud off Green Lane at Chickerell.

Dorset Council has granted Wimborne-based East Borough Housing Trust permission to make the changes to the buildings at the Ponderosa UK Stud.

A previous planning consent is already in place to convert other buildings on the site to housing, granted in 2022.

East Borough’s planning agents say that the scheme, for local people, has the support of Dorset Council’s housing enabling team for either general needs, supported or emergency housing and is designed to reduce the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for single people and couples.

The housing trust says that the homes will be created by converting the pigeon aviaries which were built in 2009: “The conversion to dwellings will be reasonably straightforward as the exiting floors, walls and roofs can be retained. There is ample car parking availability at the entrance to the site,” said agents Ellis Belk.

The site is claimed to be barely visible from anywhere nearby and said to be ideal for housing use.

Said the agents in a report to Dorset Council: “The development does not adversely affect the street scene with proposals hardly visible from the road and does not require the removal of trees or hedgerows.

"The scale and design of the development does not detract from its surroundings and has been designed so as not to affect the privacy to neighbouring properties. Existing off-street parking has been maintained and the development would not generate significant levels of traffic or affect road safety.

It converts an existing unused brownfield development providing much needed social housing within the locality The client has chosen this development to provide a cost-effective way to meet their objective.”

Only two comments were received by Dorset Council about the proposal – Chickerell Town Council welcoming the application with a welcome also from ward councillor Jean Dunseith, although she had some reservations about additional traffic on the narrow roads in the area.

The main stud building was opened in 2009 but the business dates back more than 40 years and has sold racing pigeons around the world, many of them champions, including national winners in the UK and elsewhere.

Ariel view of the former pigeon stud – the aviaries highlighted in red – Google Earth Drawings of the aviaries to be converted  – courtesy East Borough Housing Trust/Ellis Belk The existing buildings