PLANS to build nine new homes on the site of a Christchurch community hall have been backed by a residents’ group.

Sovereign Housing Association has submitted a scheme to Christchurch Borough Council for the plans for five houses and four maisonettes on the site of the former Somerford Community Centre.

The site on the corner of Amethyst Road and Southey Road has long been subject to controversy after the housing association applied in 2010 to build their new offices at the prominent site.

The community, including ward councillor Denise Jones and members of the Somerford Community Partnership (SCP), fought to get the plans refused by Christchurch council but that was overturned by a planning inspector.

However, after meetings between SCP and the housing association, the plans were dropped.

Now, after discussion with residents, new plans for the site have been drawn up, with a newly refurbished community centre at the former United Reformed Church, nearing completion.

The proposal for the nine new homes includes the demolition of the former community centre.

Chairman of SCP, Chris Hopkins, said: “We fully support the scheme. We have been involved with Aspire Architects, who helped redesign the Scotts Green development.

“It’s part of our continued working with Sovereign, which has resulted in revised plans for Scotts Green and a new community centre. It’s working really well.”

There is a communal space at the front of the development and a statement from Aspire Architects said the plans were designed to ‘embody the robust character of the estate as a whole’.

The houses will be in-keeping with other buildings in the area although developers have tried to avoid replication of surrounding houses.