Dorset

Bridport trading estate housing plans approved

St Michael's Trading Estate Image copyright Google
Image caption The trading estate is a mixture of old and new buildings, some of which are listed

A controversial bid to convert part of a trading estate into housing has been approved.

The owners of St Michael's Trading Estate in Bridport want to demolish some of the buildings to make way for 83 homes and new commercial space.

The plans, first registered in 2012, had originally been for 105 homes.

More than 800 objections were lodged, many from tenants and traders who claimed the scheme was "stabbing at the heart of Bridport".

The updated proposals involve the part-demolition of the Grade II listed Lilliput Building, which housed the town's net and cord industry in the late 18th Century, along with other buildings on the estate.

West Dorset councillors approved the application, saying it provided "a good mix of open-market housing, affordable housing and employment space".

Planning councillor Ian Gardner said the area had been allocated in the local plan for mixed-use development.

He said: "We're satisfied that we have been able to work with the applicant and reach agreement on the plans for St Michaels Trading Estate."

The estate - home to a mixture of Victorian and more modern buildings - is regarded as one of the earliest industrial suburbs in the country, having been a nationally-important centre for rope making since the 13th Century.

Mike Farmer, who owns Wessex Wines, described it as "the attractive bit" of the town and added: "The place is full of independent businesses, artists with studios - and it goes beyond just forcing people off the estate, it's stabbing at the heart of Bridport."

Estate owner Hayward & Co said in a statement: "We very much hope the community, including those who have been objecting to our plans over the years, will now work alongside us and help us deliver something special for Bridport - a scheme and a project that will add to the unique identity and character of the town."

Image copyright Google
Image caption St Michael's Trading Estate is home to independent businesses, artists and traders

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