ACCESS to a potential housing site near the village school at Child Okeford has been agreed – despite opposition from the parish council and several residents.

The ‘in principal’ agreement for access, which could unlock the housing scheme, came after almost two hours of debate around the plus and minus points of the site.

Many argued that Haywards Lane was not suitable for any additional traffic and that developing it with up to 26 houses would alter the rural character of the village.

But the developers are promising that 40per cent of the homes will be ‘affordable’, with contributions of £16,000 for each house towards local community facilities.

The site is north of the lane and west of Allen Close and in the south west corner of the village, 300 metres from the boundary of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and adjacent to St Nicholas Primary School.

Dorset Highways had raised no objection to either the road or a pedestrian access to the site which, if it goes ahead, will still need to gain detailed planning permission.

An area planning committee earlier this month heard that development was likely to generate an additional 130 traffic movements each day.

Objector Mark Courage said no consideration seemed to have been made to the fact that the lane was 60mph and only became 30mph just outside the school.

He said that the offer of car parking for those picking up or dropping off at the school might not be used at all because it was less convenient than parking in the road.

Others made the same point with local councillor and committee chairman Cllr Sherry Jespersen saying that local people were concerned about who would maintain, pay and look after the car park, while the school said that it did not need it.

Another objector, David Taylor, said neighbouring homes would be overlooked by the new homes and there would be extra pollution, noise and car lights shining into windows at night.

He claimed that the site would be cramped, complaining that when changes were made to the original proposals people had not been reconsulted.

The committee heard from the developer’s agent that although the site was outside the village settlement boundary it was a suitable area for infilling and would ‘round off’ the village boundary.

Proposing that the access points be agreed, with the details to be negotiated by planning officers, Cllr Carole Jones said she believed the site was suitable for the proposed number of homes, and said that although some residents might object to the car park offer many of those picking up and dropping off children would welcome it.

The committee agreed that because of local concerns, a note be added to the consent about whether or not there was a need for the car park.

Eight councillors voted for and two voted against with two abstentions.