Dorchester Town Council has voted unanimously to object to the development of 3,500 houses north of Dorchester.

Planners from West Dorset District Council (WDDC), determined to meet new government housing quotas, are eyeing up the rolling downs north of the river to build the vast new scheme, which would be bigger than Poundbury.


The proposed development areas on the downs, shown in orange

The development – which would expand the town’s population by 6,000 to roughly 30,000 when it is finished – would spread from the A35 near Stinsford to the east, almost as far as Charminster in the west, with just a small cushion separating the village from Dorchester.

At the meeting of the town council’s planning committee, held in the Corn Exchange to allow the public to attend in greater numbers, Cllr Janet Page gave an impassioned plea to West Dorset District Council to listen to the people of Dorchester and not to wreck the town; her sentiments being echoed by the Mayor, Cllr David Taylor.

Cllr Tamara Loakes stressed the importance of protecting the wetland and downland environment, which had once been seen as worthless.

Cllrs Tim Harries, Richard Biggs and Andy Canning spoke of the massive infrastructure investment needed for such a development, and how this was likely to make it unaffordable.

Meanwhile Cllrs Fiona Kent-Ledger and Molly Rennie and a number of residents spoke about the need for affordable housing somewhere within the town, but were not convinced that this development would do anything to provide it.

Cllr Gerald Duke asked WDDC to look at other sites, and many of the audience expressed the feeling that the building allocation should be shared out across the district, not all dumped on Dorchester.

Kate Hebditch of newly-formed protest group STAND (Save the area north of Dorchester) said, “This much-loved aspect of Dorchester is hugely valued by residents and visitors alike and I am delighted that the Town Council has listened to the wishes of the town.”

What can I do to stop this?

Have your say in West Dorset’s consultation exercise at by 8 October or write to Local Plan Consultation, WDDC, South Walks House, Dorchester DT1 1UZ or email

Click here to find out more about STAND, the new local pressure group pledged to fight this scheme, and additional ways you can lodge your protest.


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