Dorset CPRE, PO Box 9018, Dorchester, DT1 9GY.                                                                   
Tel: 0333 577 0360  Registered Charity No. 211974.   2016 © Dorset CPRE

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West Dorset. East Dorset & Christchurch. North Dorset. The Sherborne & District Society. Purbeck & Poole.
West Dorset Group
Group Chairman & Membership : Richard Nicholls

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Preserving the West Dorset AONB


The last 12 months have been difficult for the Group given the lack of staff in the WDDC Planning Department.

Planning Applications

However, in some areas of our work we have seen some success. For example in the Piddle Valley Reg Hanbury has been part of a group of local residents opposing a motor-cross facility at Bourne Park. The residents raised a number of concerns which included noise, safety and the fact that it would affect a bridleway. In the first instance, WDDC Planners did not object to the application, but after a great deal of work by the local residents, assisted by CPRE, the Planning Committee rejected the application.

The Group recently objected to change of use of land at Chalmington Farm, Dorchester, to mixed use as agricultural and as a glamping site and events venue. The site concerned is in the AONB and if allowed will not conform with National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) para 115 that states clearly that ‘Great weight should be given to conserve the landscape and scenic beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.’ This application has since been withdrawn.

Buckland Newton enforcement

Local residents in Buckland Newton, after a campaign that has lasted for at least five years and following a letter from the solicitor Richard Buxton to WDDC, have at last seen the WDDC Enforcement Department take action against a local company that is on a regular basis destroying areas of the AONB, as well as polluting a local stream.  

Neighbourhood Plans

Another area of concern is the growing importance given to Neighbourhood Plans. Whilst of course they must comply with the agreed Local Plan and NPPF they are constructed by people from the local community, some with little or no planning experience or knowledge. Again, Buckland Newton comes to mind. In the completed Neighbourhood Plan for that village, 26 pages are given over to building and development, two pages only to transport and traffic, and only one page covers both green spaces and the environment. Also of real concern is that the built and natural environment are totally ignored. This is a village that is surrounded by the AONB with a charm and local feeling very much of its own.

Renewal Energy applications

Planning applications for wind turbines and large solar farms have declined following the removal of subsidies.  The Rampisham Down Solar Farm solar panel has been called in by the Secretary of State, and the case will be heard in September. Dorset CPRE have donated £200 to Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Rampisham Down Planning appeal. Again we await the outcome.

Richard Nicholls

Group Chairman