MONEY allocated for improvements to one of the approach roads to Canford Bottom roundabout will now mostly be put towards funding a new primary school.

On Wednesday, members of Dorset Council’s eastern area planning committee said the developer of the 174-home scheme off Leigh Road in Wimborne no longer needed to spend £500,000 creating an extra lane at the roundabout.

Instead, the new agreement requires Gleeson Strategic Land puts £456,000 towards a new school and £44,000 to affordable housing away from the site.

Outline permission for development of the land between Leigh Road and the A31 was given by East Dorset District Council in March.

One of the conditions of the approval was that developer Gleeson covers the cost of work to create a third lane on Leigh Road as it meets the roundabout in a bid to reduce congestion.

But in August it published a new transport assessment which found the impact of the development would be less severe than had originally been judged.

“It is clear that a number of onerous and/or now out of date assumptions were used in relation to traffic generation and the assumed year of opening,” it said.

“It is acknowledged that there will be some queueing on Leigh Road in the year of opening. However, the overall level is significantly less than in the previous analysis.

“Using more up to date information and realistic assumptions, the impact from the development on the operation of the A31 Canford Bottom junction is not significant and the residual cumulative impacts are not severe.”

Following this, Dorset Council planning officer Elizabeth Fay recommended to councillors that the money for the project be reallocated ahead of their Wednesday meeting.

But Colehill and Wimborne Minster East councillor Janet Dover urged the funding to be kept.

“There’s a considerable amount of traffic down that road already and it will be much-enhanced by this development.

“Canford Bottom roundabout is always busy, the adjoining roads are always busy – you need to keep the money for the traffic works.”

Despite this, the committee approved the reallocation of the funding after being told it was likely that Highways England would look at funding a wider project.

Councillor Robin Cook said: “What we are talking about is the proposal to redirect the contribution to more worthwhile causes.

“I know that Highways England is looking at its next five-year tranche of works and they have flagged up the need to put a great deal of money into Canford Bottom roundabout.

“The beneficiaries here will be education and affordable housing which will instead receive the £500,000.”