PLANNERS have received a proposal to build six flats with garages as part of a larger development for the former WJ Tod site near Ferrybridge in Weymouth.

The scheme from Betterment Properties would revitalise the site, which suffered vandalism and fire damage before it was demolished.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council senior planning officer Chris Moscrop said that Betterment's application was for full planning permission for the scheme. He added: "It is the first of what are likely to be three similar applications covering the whole development of the site.

"This would eventually include 23 flats and nine houses as originally granted planning permission at outline stage.

"We have now gone out to public consultation and the application is likely to go before the planning and traffic committee on October 5 when councillors will discuss the scheme."

WJ Tod announced that it was quitting its works in the town to amalgamate them with existing works at Crewkerne in 2001. The application by Betterment is not their first. In June 2002 they submitted a scheme for 25 flats and nine houses.

This was refused in March 2003 because planners were worried at the loss of an important employment site and because they felt that there had been no convincing marketing of the site to show that employment use could not be maintained.

Betterment appealed against that decision and lost, but the appeal inspector indicated that a revised smaller scheme would have been successful. The developer then put in another outline scheme for 23 flats and nine houses, which finally achieved success last autumn when it won outline planning permission to build on the site subject to a legal agreement being thrashed out

Buildings on the site rapidly went downhill with a string of small fires and vandalism at the derelict engineering works, which have since been demolished and cleared.

Betterment managing director John Loosemore said: "If we get the go-ahead on October 5, we hope to start work on site before Christmas."