A countryside campaign group has claimed that building a proposed 39,000 houses across rural areas of Dorset ‘will lead to planning chaos’.
Dorset Campaign for the Protection of Rural England branded Dorset Council’s housing target ‘excessive’, claiming it would ‘require the population growth to double’.
“This is a clear conclusion to emerge from the report by Iceni for Dorset Council (DC) on Dorset’s Housing Needs,” said Dorset CPRE Chairman, Peter Bowyer. “It is in the interests of everyone that we now work together to develop an alternative approach.”
Dorset CPRE said it was now ‘imperative’ for DC to ‘question the assumptions behind the housing target cited in its draft Local Plan’.
“The publication of the Joint Housing Needs Assessment, together with Bournemouth Christchurch Poole (BCP) Council’s Issues and Options consultation refutes the need for DC to meet BCP shortfall and challenges the methodology used to calculate the overall target,” said Mr Bowyer.
“In addition, BCP is showing strong leadership and courage in challenging its target and exposing the weakness of the Standard Method used to calculate targets.
“DC should follow BCP’s lead in seeking a more realistic target that will better meet local need without inflicting irreparable damage on Dorset’s outstanding landscape, environment and heritage.”
The CPRE said it was also concerned that ‘current population projections, even with younger households restored back to 2001 formation rates, are insufficient to supply buyers for the housing being planned.’
It claims homes ‘may have to remain empty or not be built at all, since developers will only build homes they can actually sell’.
The draft Local Plan for Dorset is expected to be published in May, said the council.
More info from www.dorset-cpre.org.uk
By Faith Eckersall