Plans for 600 homes formally opposed
OPPOSITION: Rupert Hardy
The chairman’s casting vote clinched a formal objection to 600 new homes for Blandford.
The town council met to discuss plans for development north and east of Blandford bypass, which form a key part of the area’s neighbourhood plan. Wyatts Homes has submitted an outline scheme for all the homes and detailed plans for the first phase of 167 homes. The full council heard presentations on behalf of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), the Blandford Allotment Society, and Pimperne Parish Council. Rupert Hardy of CPRE challenged the government’s assessment of housing need, saying the housing land supply in Blandford, thanks to other development underway, was twice that required, and highlighting the adverse visual impact on the Cranborne Chase AONB and its international dark skies reserve.
His colleague Derek Gardner said the A354 and A350 were major routes which had to be crossed to get into Blandford and to the new school proposed in phase two, with no guarantee that it would go ahead. More car usage could mean the bypass ceased to function effectively, he said.
He also asked how many years it would take to create soil suitable for the relocation of the Lamperd’s Field allotments as part of the scheme. Allotments Society chairman Ian Ricketts raised a number of issues with the proposed new site to which plot holders are being asked to move only 20 years after being previously relocated with the promise that they would not have to move again. Peter Slocombe, chairman of Pimperne Parish Council, said part of the proposal conflicted with the Pimperne Neighbourhood Plan, which was approved last year and seeks to preserve the gap between the village and the town.
The Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan Group has worked for several years to draw up proposals for the development, and town council members of the group argued that the application should be supported. However they were outvoted, with the support of council chairman Lynn Lindsay, on the grounds of avoidable environmental impact and highway safety. Cllr Roger Carter, chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan group, who supported the plan subject to revisions, warned he might have to consider his position after the council voted to oppose it. Councillor Pat Osborne, chairman of the town council’s climate change group, said: “It doesn’t mean I don’t support the Neighbourhood Plan. I do, but I can’t support the impact on the carbon footprint. It would be a shame not to get a school, but clearly it will be more of a shame to create one in what will be a ruined environment.”
He said Wyatts had seemed to be totally unwilling to do anything more than government guidelines in relation to climate change, and had dismissed their concerns out of hand.
“But legislation will catch up, and a short delay may be all that is required.” Councillor Noc Lacey Clarke feared there was not enough green infrastructure, and several members were concerned pedestrian crossings over the bypass and Salisbury road were inadequate. Councillor Byron Quayle said: “We are opposing this application, in which there is a lot to be desired, not the Neighbourhood Plan.”
The Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan for the parishes of Blandford, Blandford St Mary and Bryanston, which has until now been supported by the Blandford community and includes part of the site as the preferred area for development to meet government housing targets and support the provision of a new primary school, is awaiting final acceptance by Dorset Council and approval by public referendum following a legal challenge.