THE sheer number of residents protesting at plans for 13 affordable homes in Merley, has led to a re-think.

A 550 signature petition and representation from the local MP led to Poole’s cabinet agreeing to defer a decision on proposals for two and three-bed homes, using half of the former youth centre site in Chichester Walk.

Residents including Lynne Witt of Chichester Walk and Lorraine Mindlesohn were among those objecting to the loss of an open space where children could play in safety.

“People come from all over Merley to play in there because it is a safe environment,” said Lynne. The next door pre-school also voiced traffic safety concerns.

The recommendation was for the site to be taken off the list until the core strategy was updated and consulted on. However Cllr Karen Rampton, cabinet portfolio holder for housing, proposed an amendment that it should be deferred.

Members agreed to defer it until revised plans and strategies have been considered, taking into account the views that have been expressed.

“We desperately need some more affordable homes in Poole,” said Cllr Rampton.

She said she heard at the recent summit on poverty at Bournemouth University that it takes the average person in Poole nine times average earnings to be able to buy a house.

“I am quite determined something does happen there,” she said. “It is quite a contentious issue.”

That could mean a smaller number of affordable homes on the land, which she pointed out was a brownfield site.

“If we don’t use brownfield sites like that and infill housing we are not going to meet our quota,” she said.

Borough of Poole has approved proposals to deliver 100 new affordable homes on its land. In April this year 5,551 people were on the housing register. From 2012 the council lost 60 properties through right to buy and the number of new homes built or acquired for affordable housing was 45.