COUNCILLORS will be asked to approve the redevelopment of a disused police station site in Christchurch for a second time next week.

BCP Council’s planning committee first approved the Aster Homes scheme for the land between Bargates and Barrack Road in February.

But, threatened with legal action, it was agreed the decision would be reviewed to address criticism of the way the application was first considered.

Aster Homes is hoping to win support to build 130 homes, dozens of sheltered accommodation units and commercial and community facilities on the police station and magistrates’ court site.

Although councillors approved the scheme when they met earlier this year, final planning permission had yet to be given by the time the council was threatened with legal action.

A judicial review pre-action protocol letter sent in May alleged the decision had been “unlawful”.

It warned biodiversity policies had not been complied with, that there had been incorrect advice on the effects of the“ecological corridor” planned within the development and that living space standards for the proposed homes had not been considered.

The council had been due to meet with the people behind the legal challenge but instead agreed to revisit the original decision.

Aster Homes submitted revised plans in the summer in a bid to overcome concerns and these will be considered by councillors on Thursday.

Despite the concerns, the planning committee will again be asked to approve the proposal.

“[It is considered] that the benefits of the scheme significantly and demonstrably outweigh the identified impacts,” a report by council planning officer Sophie Mawdsley written ahead of the meeting says.

“It is clear there are some weaknesses with the scheme in that it does not fully comply with all of the Housing Quality Indicators in policy LN1.

“However, a technical failure against this policy is not considered to override the benefits of the scheme.”

It also raises concerns that the council is unable to demonstrate it can meet the benchmark of having a five-year supply of land for housing.

This, the report adds, would mean the development would be acceptable even if it were not judged to be fully compliant with the council's planning policies.