Sherborne 'back in the frame' for new homes development
COUNCILLORS fear mounting opposition towards fresh plans for development in Dorset could put Sherborne “back in the frame” as a site for hundreds of new homes.
A public consultation seeking responses on a revised local plan for Dorset closed on Thursday. The future development strategy suggests 500 new homes should be allocated to the south-east of Dorchester rather than on land at Barton Farm, to the north-west of Sherborne.
The original plan met overwhelming public opposition last year from hundreds of Sherborne residents.
The revision proposes a total of 1,000 homes in Dorchester.
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But now Robin Legg, district councillor for Bradford Abbas and development control committee member, has warned that reports of a Dorchester-based petition and site analysis could mean the houses are re-located to Sherborne.
He said: “This could put Sherborne back in the frame.
“We were told at the last district council meeting there was significant opposition to the new proposals from Dorchester residents.
“I asked what happens next. The danger is that the inspector will be presented with no clear decision on a site from the council in the autumn.
“I have seen analysis from planners of the pros and cons of the sites. It’s obvious that if this is ever considered by an inspector Barton Farm will be the preferred choice.”
Kate Keel, organiser of the Save Came View petition, was due to present signatures of more than 500 Dorchester residents opposing the plan to the district council yesterday.
Alistair Chisholm, district councillor for Charminster and Cerne Valley, said the homes should not be “dumped” on Dorchester.
He said: “This site has huge literary and historical significance and has just as much heritage as Sherborne.
“There are practical concerns with flooding and infrastructure. The load should be spread evenly through west Dorset where a number of communities can benefit from the development.
“Why should any one town take the hit?”
Sherborne town councillor Matt Hall said: “I think we will only know the answer after the May elections as this is a political hot potato.”
Katharine Pike, Sherborne town councillor and chairman of the plans committee, said it was “vital” Sherborne residents respond to the plans if they do not want 500 extra homes in the town.
She said: “It makes strategic sense for the homes to be in Dorchester. It is a vibrant town and it has everything going for it.
“So much in Sherborne depends on this not happening.
“We did a great job in responding the first time and now we must make our views clear once more.”
For further information on how you can respond to the local plan consultation, call 01305 252386.