VILLAGERS are up in arms over plans to demolish a bus shelter.

The only bus shelter in Portesham could be bulldozed to make way for a resident’s garden extension.

Some 180 comments mostly opposing the plans have been submitted to West Dorset District Council and a Save Our Bus Shelter (SOBS) group has been set up.

The application is currently on hold because it is invalid, a district council spokeswoman said.

Applicant Paul Thomas-Day had put in plans for an enlargement of the garden at the home he owns in Bramdon Close in Portesham.

This would mean removing the bus shelter, which is on land owned by Mr Thomas-Day.

Weymouth resident Mr Thomas-Day also planned to build new electric gates and make changes to the perimeter walls.

Under the plans, the bus stop would remain in use but there would be nowhere for bus passengers to shelter or sit down while waiting for buses.

Parish councillor David Blackwell, 64, said: “A lot of the older people in the village tend to use the bus service because many of them feel they are too old to drive now.

“There’s nothing worse than standing there waiting for a bus in the rain.”

Resident John Hensby, 77, said: “Schoolchildren use the shelter five days a week and it gives them somewhere to shelter from the rain.”

The planning application’s design statement by P Dean Associates says the current bus shelter has become ‘a magnet for the congregation of local youths’.

It adds that the shelter is set well back from the roadside and passengers waiting for buses can’t see a bus approach or be seen by the bus driver while inside the shelter.

In a letter of objection to the plans, Bramdon Lane resident Stuart Bainbridge said: “The shelter has been a well used facility for decades and has been maintained by the parish for over 25 years.

“To demolish it and force people nearer to the road whilst waiting for their bus would be no more than an act of dangerous vandalism.”

Resident Beryl Carter, 79, said: “We have a lot of people in the village who don’t drive and rely upon the bus and use that shelter.”

A Dorset County Council spokesman said there would be no plans to put a new bus shelter in the village if the application did go ahead.

He added: “We don’t have a budget for bus shelters at the moment.”

Comments are still invited on the application until March 18.

Mr Thomas-Day declined to comment.

A district council spokeswoman said: “At the moment the application is invalid and a decision will not be made on the application at this time."