Councillors rally to protect heritage town
SHERBORNE councillors are fighting to minimise the impact of a proposed large development on the outskirts of the town.
An outline application by Charles Church Ltd to build 286 homes, a 60-bed care home and employment buildings on the Barton Farm site has received an angry response.
Many local people believe the development could have a serious negative impact on the character of the historic town, and more than 130 representations have been made to West Dorset District Council's development control committee.
Sherborne Town Council has made a recommendation for refusal, suggesting that the housing development should be no more than 230 homes - the allocation made for the site in the 2006 Local Development Plan.
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Kate Pike, chairman of Sherborne Town Council's planning committee, has written to the district council, suggesting a list of conditions the council wants to see enforced if the plans are approved.
Apart from the reduced housing numbers, the list goes on to include a call for high quality development, off-street parking for all homes, an extensive tree-planting scheme and an effective flood management scheme. It also requests that the care home and industrial employment development are removed from the scheme.
A list of similar conditions has been sent to all district council development control committee members by ward councillors Marjorie Snowden and Peter Shorland.
Councillor Snowden said: "This application could open the door to a huge number of new houses in Sherborne, which would destroy the character of the abbey town. It is a threat to all the things that people love about Sherborne."
Both documents urge the district council to ensure that all reserved matters are approved by Sherborne Town Council before the commencement of any construction works.
Councillor Shorland explained: "It is an attempt to tell planners that, after all the talk from central government about localism, it is absolutely right that local people and the town council should have an influence before it gets the final stamp."
Councillor Pike added: "Sherborne is a little market town where development has been discreet over the years. It should be protected for generations to come."
West Dorset District Council's development control committee will meet to consider the plans at the Digby Hall in Hound Street at 11am on Thursday 13th September.
Charles Church Ltd was not available for comment.