The S.T.A.N.D (Save The Area North of Dorchester) coordinating group is gathering together the various challenges to the development of this site

D-Day for Dorchester

Alistair Chisholm

The S.T.A.N.D (Save The Area North of Dorchester) coordinating group is gathering together the various challenges to the development of this site (water and sewerage issues, the loss of good quality farming land, the various problems associated with the extra pressure on local services like health and education, coping with extra traffic and parking in the town etc. etc..

The most important issue surrounding this proposed site for development, and the one which may turn out to be our strongest card, is that of the desecration of heritage and landscape. Thomas Hardy’s writings have a critical role in this and the more of his references we can find, the stronger we can make our argument for keeping this unique feature of Dorchester’s setting.

From March onwards we shall have a stall in South Street making the case with leaflets, maps, visualisations of the development, pop-up banners etc. I’m pleased to say that the West Dorset branch of the CPRE have agreed to hold funds for our campaign which means people can donate safe in the knowledge that their money will be used for the campaign.

On the Easter Monday bank holiday (22nd April) we shall have a protest walk on public footpaths in the development area.

A map which I’ve produced to illustrate the scale of the proposed North Dorchester Consortium’s plans for development immediately north of the water meadows in the county town.

It shows clearly that this proposed development is even larger than the Duchy’s Poundbury urban extension to the west of the town and also demonstrates where it is in relation to the Birthplace Cottage and Hardy’s “Egdon Heath” (Puddletown Forest).

As one approaches Dorchester on the A35 from the east, down Yellowham Hill, this new development will come into view on the right hand side of the trunk road. At present this most easterly part of “Norchester” is planned to be “employment land” and this could mean that one’s first view of Hardy’s “Casterbridge” is a series of sheds !

There are many reasons why Thomas Hardy Society members might oppose this desecration of the heart of “Hardy Country" and some of them are mentioned in articles I’ve written in past copies of “Dorchester Voice” which are available on its website.

If readers wish to add their name to the 38 Degrees petition against this development,  380 Degree Petition: STAND - Save The Area North of Dorchester

The decision on this “preferred site” in the Local Plan will be made by the new Dorset (unitary) Council after the elections in May 2019.

We shall present the 38 Degrees petition during a demonstration outside County Hall on the day of the first meeting of the new Dorset Council in early May.

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