PROPOSALS to construct 46 new homes on the site of a former clay pit at Lytchett Matravers have been deferred by district planning bosses.

Developers want to build on the 2.7-hectare site, which is currently agricultural land, at Huntick Road.

However, when Purbeck District Council's (PDC) planning committee convened, last week, members postponed their decision until officers could meet developers about possible changes to some of the plots.

Concerns were also voiced about the impact of the new homes on neighbours.

Going into the meeting, a report written by case officer Andrew Collins, recommended members grant permission. But at least eight neighbours have contacted the council to object to the scheme.

They argue the new estate could impact on protected trees and threaten highway safety. Some neighbours also complained about the scale and design of the new homes.

The applicant, Lewis Wyatt (Construction) Ltd & Morrish Builders wants to construct two one-bedroomed homes, a dozen two-bedroom homes, a dozen three-bedroom homes, 16 four-bedroomed and four five-bed properties.

At least 18 units are proposed to be affordable housing, six of them as affordable purchase and the remaining 12 as affordable rented.

Natural England has been consulted on the plans, as the proposed estate is within 400 metres and 5km of designated sites forming part of the Dorset Heathlands Special Protection Area SPA/Ramsar (Convention on Wetlands) and Dorset Heaths Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

In his report, Mr Collins explained: "Part of the site was a former clay pit. The applicant commissioned a contaminated land survey.

"The report concluded that, based upon distance and the non-permeability of the underlying London Clay, that the former fuel tank in the former Depot area was unlikely to adversely affect ground conditions beneath the development site.

"The council's environmental health officer agrees with this assessment and a condition regarding potential contaminated land via a remediation study prior to commencement of works is imposed."

Meanwhile, Lytchett Matravers Parish Council has pushed for the maximum amount of affordable housing on site.

The parish council has also asked for planning conditions to include a cycleway across the front of the site.