PLANNING bosses have given the green light to proposals to build 30 new homes on a former school campus within Swanage Conservation Area.

Developers have been given permission to demolish temporary classrooms and outbuildings at the St Mary's School site, Manor Road.

Bracken Developments Ltd will convert the existing school building into 11 flats, and construct the rest of the homes from scratch.

Purbeck District Council (PDC) planning committee members backed the plans at their last meeting.

While a report to committee members from PDC case officer Andrew Collins recommended permission be given, subject to legal agreements concerning affordable homes, some 22 letters of objection were lodged by concerned neighbours and town residents.

Reasons for these objections include overdevelopment fears, access concerns, the demolition of an existing water tank considered by some neighbours as a heritage asset, increased traffic and loss of trees.

Lodging her objections to the plans, Chapel Lane resident Dr Jane Scullion, explained: "In principle as immediate neighbours we are very pleased to see plans to develop the site at last. We also strongly support the proposal to create affordable homes as these are badly needed in Swanage, particularly for young people.

"Our objections are based on two concerns – land stability next to the Chapel Lane terraced houses and the treatment of both foul and surface water."

Meanwhile, Manor Road resident Tom Shepherd commented: "Twenty houses is far too many houses for such a small site."

He added: "If you look around Swanage you will see that no area this small has 20 houses on."

The eleven flats will be affordable properties, managed by a social landlord.

Total housing provision on the brownfield site is for three one-bedroomed dwellings, eight two-bedroomed homes, 17 three-bedroomed properties and two four-bedroomed.

Part of the scheme would involve the restoration of a listed rotunda on the neighbouring Purbeck House Hotel site.

The rotunda is accessible to the public from Manor Road.

In his report to committee, Mr Collins said: "In conclusion, regarding the layout and design of the development, officers consider it is appropriate in this urban location."

Swanage Town Council had raised concerns about the layout and density of the site, and the need to remove the water tank which required listed consent.

However, Mr Collins' report explained: "This demolition has been carefully considered in the report and is deemed acceptable in order to provide new homes in a sustainable location , including affordable homes."