AN INDUSTRIAL estate near Three Legged Cross is in line for a major extension aimed at smaller businesses.

Plans have been submitted for the construction of 19 new units at the Woolsbridge business centre off Ringwood Road.

Ankers and Rawlings Developments is hoping to extend the industrial into former farmland – a move it received outline permission for in 2017.

In its application, it says the smaller size of the 19 proposed units for the site “is likely to attract” start-up businesses.

“The scheme is for relatively small units,” the firm’s planning statement says.

“It is considered that this is likely to attract start-up and existing small businesses.

“Dorset has a strong track record in such businesses and the applicant is very experienced in judging the suitability of unit sizes in relation to prevailing market demand.”

In order to address previous concerns from people living near to the industrial estate about noise issues, it has designed the units around a “courtyard” to direct their openings away from Ringwood Road.

Development of the industrial estate has been identified as being acceptable in the Christchurch and East Dorset Local Plan which allocates the area for employment use.

In 2017, East Dorset District Council granted planning permission for a new junction to connect the industrial estate with Ringwood Road.

In order to facilitate the latest planned extension, Ankers and Rawlings Development has bought six hectares of land at Oakfield Farm which falls outside of the site allocated in the document.

Despite this, the firm says its application “is in full accord” with the development plan and that without schemes such as this coming forward “the opportunity to provide employment for the economic improvement of the local population will falter”.

The application will be considered by Dorset Council planning officers in the coming weeks.