A 500-home development north of Littlemoor has been approved – bringing with it jobs and a multi-million pound boost to the economy.

The project will provide 175 affordable homes with land set aside for a hotel, a primary school and a care home.

The developers will have to pay more than a £1million into schemes to help the community with a cash bonus for a community hall, play areas, open spaces and donations for the health centre and library.

The project has already taken five years to gain outline approval and is likely to take another year before the details are approved and work starts.

Extra shopping is also expected to come from the development, linking in with the existing local centre which has shops, a post office, health centre, church and library.

The application comes from Neejam 165 Ltd and Budworth Development Ltd who have said that the development would take around six years to build.

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As part of a legal agreement with the council, which has yet to be signed off, the developers will make an education contribution of £6,169 for each eligible home; £310,000 for  Community Facilities; £127,000 to the Weymouth Swimming Pool;  £65,000 for the library; £112,000 for Redland Sports Centre; £96,000 for Lorton Nature Reserve; £478,000 for a children’s play and open spaces and £40,000 as a primary healthcare contribution.

Around eight hectares of the site will be set aside for employment use towards the western end, adjacent to the main junctions of the relief road. Mention is made of a hotel, care home and car showrooms although at this stage there is no guarantee of any of these being delivered.

The Local Plan anticipates that the extra growth in the area would mean that a new primary school with one form of entry will be built, capable of being later extended to take two forms of entry. A 2.4 hectare site on the development has been set aside for this.

New 'green' policies would be put in place – planting additional trees before developments start and to encourage a northern extension of the Lorton Valley Nature Park.

Comments against the application include worries about the extra traffic, especially between the Bincombe Bumps roundabout and Goulds garden centre; that the A353 relief road will severe the communities either side of it; inadequate sports pitches; the effect on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; lack of allotments and the effect on wildlife. There is also concern that existing cycle routes and footpaths will be severed by new roads and ancient hedgerows marking the boundary with Bincombe parish damaged.

The outline application, now approved subject to final agreement by the council’s senior planning officer, suggests that the affordable homes will be a mix of those for rent and shared ownership.

The Weymouth and Portland and West Dorset District Council’s Housing Register currently has over 1200 households registered as being in affordable housing need.

Not all of the land likely to be developed is in the same ownership and another application is expected to follow for a site of almost 38 hectares.