Members of Weymouth and Portland Council have urged caution over plans for the school on a former industrial site at Osprey Quay – a major new coastal development between the two towns.

Councillor Dominic Lonsdale said: “The proposal is to build a primary school on an industrial waste site.

“In 20 years time we don’t want to be discussing the high rate of illness amongst ex-pupils because of the contaminated land.

“We are going to have to be over-exhaustive in our checks to make sure the land is not contaminated.”

Councillors fear the land could be contaminated and say that the site was historically used for waste treatment and disposal.

An expert report prepared for the councillors concluded the site includes some pockets of low level contamination but no remediation work is necessary as the land will not be growing food for human consumption.

It did not find any potential risk for children or staff at the site but councillors appeared unconvinced and want more checks before the plans are given the go ahead.

Some are concerned the level of contamination may have been underestimated and fear underground pipes used to carry liquid industrial waste to and from the site may have leaked.

Councillor David Hawkins said: “In general, as a Portland councillor I think it’s a good thing, a good development. But if there is site pollution I wonder if this has been underestimated.

“Remember there were underground pipes from the tank, what if they leaked or were damaged through the geology of the area. The leaking will go into the properties.”

Dorset County Council will make the final decision on plans for the 315-place primary school on the site of the old Mere Tank Farm, Castle Road.

David Gibbs

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