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Committee attacks Dorchester homes plan
9:09pm Monday 4th March 2013 in Latest
TOWN councillors have launched a scathing attack on plans to build 1,000 homes on the edge of Dorchester.
West Dorset District Council is currently consulting on its local plan to guide future development in the area.
The latest draft plan includes a proposal for 1,000 homes to the south east of the county town between the A352 Broadmayne road and the A35 Dorchester bypass at a site known as Came View.
The location was included after objections in the original plan to the amount of housing proposed for Crossways, Beaminster and Sherborne.
Dorchester Town Council’s planning and environment committee discussed the plans at their latest meeting and there was unanimous agreement amongst members that the authority should voice its objections to the scheme in the strongest possible terms.
Concerns raised included the site’s vulnerability to flooding, the impact on traffic on the bypass, the damage to the adjoining Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the loss of agricultural land.
Councillor Susie Hosford said that, with the amount of new homes already planned for Dorchester, the town’s infrastructure could struggle to cope.
Coun Tim Harries added: “Houses in Dorchester get flooded for a past time.
“We can’t go on building more and more houses where we shouldn’t be building them on flood plains.”
He also raised concerns that the development would ruin the culturally important landscape between author Thomas Hardy’s former home at Max Gate and poet William Barnes’ Old Came rectory, with tourists from all over the world drawn to the town because of its links to the writers.
Coun Harries said: “We are in the process of raping our cultural heritage here.”
Committee chairman Fiona Kent-Ledger said she felt the decision to include the site in the latest plan had been a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction because of the opposition to other sites.
She said: “I don’t think Dorchester needs any more housing.”
Members of the public also addressed the meeting to raise concerns over the Dorchester site’s archaeological importance and its capacity to accommodate 1,000 homes.