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Saturday, 1 September 2018

Dorchester, Dorset: Plans for 3,500 homes near Dorchester; Local Plan Review

Plans for 3,500 homes near Dorchester, Dorset Echo

I dropped in at South Walks House yesterday, to find out more. I'm not much the wiser, because of the volume of information to be absorbed.

All comments are required by 8 October, 2018

Local Plan Review - West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland

Issues and Options consultation document (for Dorchester see Section 7, pages 28-36 and figures 7.2 and 7.4)

Sustainability Appraisal (for Dorchester, see Section 13, pages 102-113)

Information, research and evidence

Review of the Local Plan

In his report on the examination of the local plan, the Inspector indicated that he considered it to be "imperative that an early review is undertaken". The objective of the review is to identify additional housing land capable of meeting housing need to 2036. Through the Local Plan Review the councils will also consider revisions to other policies in response to changes in national policy and legislation.

The councils have set out the full scope of this review in their updated Local Development Scheme (March 2016) and through subsequent committee reports taken to the West Dorset District Council Executive Committee and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Management Committee.

Many planning issues cross administrative boundaries and are the responsibility of a range of organisations. Cooperation on these issues is required under the 'Duty to Cooperate' and the councils are engaged in strategic planning across a range of issues as part of this duty.

From Issues and Options:


7.12 Dorchester is constrained by:

- the Dorset AONB;
- the River Frome floodplain and SSSI;
- scheduled ancient monuments primarily related to the town’s Roman and pre-Roman heritage;
- The Dorchester, Charminster and Stinsford Conservation Areas;
- Kingston Maurward Registered Park and Garden.

From the Sustainabiliy Appraisal, Preferred Options, Dorchester pages 102-113

From Section 13, (13.2.10):

The policies for development at Dorchester are likely to provide services and facilities to meet the needs of the community, such as a new health campus at the hospital, employment land providing work for the community, cultural activities associated with Dorchester’s rich cultural heritage, and education facilities at Kingston Maurward. Furthermore, the development at Land North of Dorchester (DOR15) will provide recreational facilities associated with the new Local Nature Reserve, new schools, and a new local centre providing the community with essential shopping facilities. The provision of a local centre with the development at Land North of Dorchester (DOR15) will ensure that a strong neighbourhood centre is provided with this major new development, encouraging a more inclusive society. The policies for development at Dorchester will look to establish a more comprehensive sustainable transport network, connecting the key areas of Dorchester by pedestrian and cycle links and enabling access to services and facilities by more sustainable modes of transport.


Development in Dorchester will provide up to 4,257 new homes, including affordable housing, sites possibly suitable for self and custom build housing (DOR 11), and housing for those with extra care needs and working at the hospital (DOR 14). This volume of development is likely to result in an appreciable increase in energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change

My general concern is about the increased pressure on the infrastructure of Dorchester.

It might be sensible if every house (not those intended as genuinely affordable homes, but certainly for all those bought as second homes (ie not as a main residence) should be subject to a Community Infrastructure Levy of around £50,000)? That would help.

It is not clear how much of the planning to date has taken account of the Clinical Commissioning Reviews and recommendations, or how much these reviews have been "in sync", but there must be concern about GP surgery and hospital bed capacity, about school places, congestion and adequate parking spaces in Dorchester. As Karen Greening wrote recently in a letter to the Dorset Echo, before planning a new hotel in the Charles Street or the Fairfield car-parks, ensure that the historic King's Arms Hotel is restored before it collapses!

If you go down High West and High East Street on Sunday 16th September (Architectural Heritage Week), admire Shire Hall but shed a tear for the state of The King's Arms, where Robert Louis Stevenson and many others stayed, when visiting Dorchester to pay their respects to Thomas Hardy.

Sunday 16th  Open Door Event 

"The full length of both High West and High East Streets in Dorchester, from the Top o’ Town roundabout down to the site of the White Hart by the Millstream of the River Frome. Please use public car parks. The closure of both High West and High East Streets in the county town will provide a unique opportunity for people to view, and hear associated stories about, one of this country’s longest arrays of listed buildings. This architectural gem contains buildings dating back to the mid 15th Century with important Dorset associations such as the Bloody Assize of 1685, the 1834 trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and, of course, the words and poetry of both William Barnes and Thomas Hardy. There will be tours arranged on the day led by local Blue Badge tour guides, members of the Dorchester Civic Society and members of both the Thomas Hardy and William Barnes Societies. Sunday 16th, 10am to 4pm".

How to create the high streets of the future, FT

Can Instagram save offline shopping? The Economist 1843 Magazine

Warning for the High Streets - the Challenge to Retailers (and Town Planners/Developers?) Mail Online

The Debenhams Problem

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