CONSTRUCTION is well underway to redevelop the Sandford Filling Station and Co-op store, which is set to reopen in spring next year.

Co-op say the new look store, on Sandford Road, near Wareham, will have "significantly larger" floor space compared with the former building. It will also create up to seven new jobs.

Documents submitted during the planning stages show a building with a 278sqm sales area - which is 224sqm larger than the previous shop.

Plans also include the removal and replacement of all existing fuel pumps, canopy and underground tanks. The garage's car wash is not being replaced.

When the Co-op is finished it will also include an in-store bakery and Costa Coffee.

Co-op area manager Dave Boyd said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to carry out such a significant investment in Wareham, creating new employment opportunities and enabling us to better to serve the community.

"We would like to thank the community for its patience and understanding during the programme of works."

Only two nearby residents contacted Purbeck District Council's (PDC) planning department to voice concerns when the scheme went through the planning process earlier this year.

One neighbour said: "The plans show the air and water supply within feet of our patio/dining area and back kitchen door. We strongly object to this on the grounds of noise from the machine and constant car doors opening and closing.

"This is also positioned directly under a bedroom window and as this station is open from 6am-11pm we feel that this would be a huge disturbance of peace."

The air and water facilities were later relocated elsewhere on the site.

Meanwhile, Sandford Terrace resident Paul Willis did say he'd experienced problems in the past with people using the garage.

"We have had discarded needles, rubbish, empty bottles dumped at the bottom of our garden," he added.

PDC planning officer James Clements recommend the scheme be granted permission.

In a report he said: "Officers consider that the layout, scale, height, massing, design and use of materials of the proposed development is acceptable in this context given the existing context and character of the filling station."

The proposed replacement shop/kiosk is significantly larger than the existing structure but is an appropriate size for the site and would not appear incongruous or out of keeping in the street scene."