CONCERNS about building affordable homes on an open site at Merley have been raised by residents.

The former youth centre site off Chichester Walk is an area identified for residential development by Borough of Poole, which held a public consultation at Merley Community Centre.

Working in partnership with Raglan Housing Association, the proposal is for 13 two and three-bed homes using half of the field.

However there is a petition protesting about it in local shops and residents including Lynne Witt of Chichester Walk and Lorraine Mindelsohn are opposing the plans.

“People come from all over Merley to play in there because it is a safe environment,” said Lynne.

The open field could clearly be seen and parents felt safe letting their children play there, she said.

More housing would mean more traffic and would put pressure on the pre-schools, school and doctor’s surgery.

“It’s affecting the whole of Merley, not just people and children around here. The whole community,” she said.

Debbie Benjafield, owner of Down in the Woods pre-school which is next door said they would lose their car park to the development. “It’s a massive safety issue for us,” she said.

But the council has a significant shortage of affordable homes and says it is committed to help increase the supply using its own land and assets.

“These homes are desperately needed for families and will make a small but important contribution to helping local families have a secure home,” said Cllr Karen Rampton, cabinet portfolio holder for housing and community services.

“We must consider all possible sites across the borough while balancing the needs of the local residents.”

Cllr David Brown, who represents Merley and Bearwood said: “It is important the council is committed to providing affordable housing in Poole but taking into account the views of the local community is equally important to make sure that any plans can be revised to address the views and concerns of local people.”

Anyone unable to attend can contact Raglan for further information on 02380 658838. A consultation page will be available at